There are days when my mind can feel like a beehive, with thoughts buzzing around incessantly.
Whether it’s a fear that my manager thinks I’m doing a bad job, worries that I have upset my friends or concerns that the dinner I’m hosting will be rubbish, it can feel non-stop. Currently, I am worried about what people will think of a therapist who worries. I am sure you are starting to build a concept of what my brain sounds like.
When I have felt overwhelmed by anxiety sewing has been a place of calm for me. I have found myself getting lost in it, being present in the moment as opposed to catastrophising (a made up therapy word) about my future. Cooking is also a creative outlet that manages to calm my stormy mind. When I am chopping up vegetables and managing timings making sure I don’t chop my fingers off or burn something means I am completely absorbed in the task.
This experience of complete stillness is termed ‘flow’ and researchers explain it is helpful for our wellbeing. This state refers to being so engrossed in something we reach a near-meditative state. It carries similar benefits to meditation, so we feel less stressed after. It restores the body to a calm state, helping the body to repair itself and prevent new damage from the physical effects of stress.
Furthermore, it calms our mind and body by quieting the stress-induced thoughts that keep our body’s stress response triggered.
My friends have had similar experiences finding ‘flow’ in drawing, writing and pottery. They talk about the calming and therapeutic effect it has and scientific literature supports the idea these creative tasks encourage flow too.
So with all of this in mind, I’ve decided to spread the word about this ‘flow’ phenomenon as well as the other psychological benefits of creativity. I will be launching workshops in January 2019 getting people to use music and visual arts for their psychological well-being. Join me on the journey of understanding and healing our minds through creativity.
Sheri Bateren is the founder of MindCanvas an organisation that delivers workshops on Psychological wellbeing and Creativity. She is also a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and a member of the British Association of Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists (BABCP). To discover her upcoming workshops, click here.