5 Creative Ways to Ease Depression
“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say ‘My tooth is aching’ than to say ‘My heart is broken.’ “
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Our travels through life come with highs and lows. While sometimes sadness can be pinpointed to an event, depression can also come at a time when all should be well. Whether you are facing depression due to circumstances that can be easily explained or reasons that are harder to decipher, there are ways to ease the suffering and find solace through creativity.
Write it Down
Some of the most brilliant writers ever known suffered from depression. Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and even Stephen King are all examples of creative and intelligent people who faced depressive episodes. Some might think that creativity causes sadness, but others believe that creativity is the key to overcoming it. Writing short stories or even simply keeping a journal can be therapeutic and provide an outlet for things that may be difficult to say out loud. Writing can also be used as an activity to give your mind something to focus on. A quiet moment in your day to put pen to paper can provide a much-needed break. Someday you may even decide to share your story with others.
The weight of sadness often holds us back from doing some of the very things that could potentially alleviate stress. Fighting the urge to stay in bed may be difficult, but exercise can help relieve depression. Yoga is a great option as it considered an exercise for both the mind and body. Simply going on a hike or taking a nice swim are also relaxing options. If you don’t feel up to leaving the house at first, turn on your favorite music and dance. A recent study found that dancing can reduce cortisol, which is the hormone that is associated with stress. While dancing with a partner has the most positive result, dancing alone can still help reduce the effects of cortisol.
Create Something Beautiful
Painting, drawing, sculpture, and even crafts can provide an outlet for anxiety and sadness. Sometimes emotions are too difficult to put into words, but other methods of expression can often give you a way to externalize thoughts and feelings that you have been internalizing. Creating artwork has also been shown to increase dopamine in your brain. Art therapy has been a successful tool used to help patients being treated for mental illness and even addictions. You do not have to consider yourself an artist to utilize this method of therapy. Your creations can be for you alone, or they can be a way to share what you are going through with other people.
When to Seek Help
While we all go through periods of sadness, sometimes depression can only be treated with the help of medical professionals. If you have been experiencing depression for two weeks or more, if your work or family life is being affected, you are self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, or if you feel like you may be at risk for hurting yourself or others, please seek help immediately. There is no reason to suffer when there are resources that can help, and medicine is not the only option. Acupuncture is an example of a treatment your doctor can recommend that does not involve taking prescription drugs. Therapy animals may also be recommended.
Just remember, depression is very common, and it’s possible to get out of the funk. Just give some of these options a chance, and you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.