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Increase Your Creativity. Lower Your Stress.

According to numerous studies, including one performed by the American Journal of Public Health, there is a clear link to the mental and physical health benefits of having a creative outlet. Even if you can't dance to a beat or color in the lines, it's important to find a creative outlet for your own sanity.

Brush Studio, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, suggests five ways having a creative outlet will help you de-stress and get your mental health back on track.

1. You feel refreshed.
Unless you have a strictly creative career, you probably overuse your left brain and neglect your right brain. The typical, strenuous corporate 9-to-5 life can make it nearly impossible to utilize both due to the standards, guidelines and expectations that need to be met.

After a long day of work, winding down with a paintbrush or the dusty guitar allows for a release of built-up stress and emotion. Your passions allow you to forget about the world and express yourself in a healthy manner. "Unclogging" the buildup of creative juices increases your productivity for the next day, too.

2. Balance is key.
On the biological side of the matter, focusing too much on a stressful task can lead to an increase in anxiety and depression levels in adults. Allowing your creative outlet to take charge decreases blood pressure, decreases production of stress hormones and decreases your body mass index in the long run. Talk about exercising your imagination, right?

3. Replace unhealthy habits.
A creative outlet can be viewed as a healthy distraction and take the place of other means of de-stressing, such as induced anxiety attacks, binge drinking or even smoking. Having a physical representation of your stressor in the form of a picture, song or movement allows for it to minimize—and the results are a form of art.

4. You'll see the bigger picture.
Focusing on the most microscopic of details and nitpicking flaws can be enough to drive you insane. Realize that your days of activating your imagination are not over, and see that the world is not all numbers and letters.

5. Make work more enjoyable.
Can't escape stress at home? Do the eight-hour days drag on, day after day? Expressing ingenuity through your work—even paper pushing—can make your work more enjoyable; therefore, you become more productive. Although your work may not be the ideal platform for creative expression, being told what to do all day can be demeaning and, let's face it, exhausting. A little stress is healthy, but reducing the potential for catastrophic levels of pressure can make you feel as though you never work a day in your life.

Make free time a priority in your life. Whether it's dancing, singing, painting, reading or drawing, having a creative outlet is crucial for good mental and physical health. Your brain, body and boss will thank you.

Written by Heather Callahan, owner of instructional art studio Brush Studio GR. Brush Studio has a passion for its customers, in which they will want to come back again and again. Heather has a customer service-focused background and a degree in Education, with a creative arts emphasis. By combining these efforts, Brush Studio hopes you will come away from a class with a positive sense of self that you have accomplished something you never thought possible—a fabulous piece of art for that wall in your house that you have created.


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