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Guest Post: Get Unstuck by Aimee Lyons

10:55:00 AM

Get Unstuck: How Creative Hobbies Help You Heal Your Addictions and Your Life

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by Katya36

In today’s overly-busy society, we often spend more time checking Facebook “on the go” than we do activities we enjoy with people we love. Sadly, this negatively impacts our brains, our social lives, and our happiness. By contrast, if we put down our phones and pick up a hobby, it can offer mental health and mental fitness benefits. Creative hobbies such as writing, art, and woodworking actually reduce stress while helping us heal from pain, addiction, and more.

If you’ve been going through a difficult time or feeling “stuck” lately, here’s how a creative outlet could completely transform your life:

1.    Emotional Health
In his book The Happiness of Pursuit, author Chris Guillebeau says our comfort zones are “more like a cage you can’t escape from than a safe place you can retreat to.” When we break free from comfort zones to pursue something new, he believes it brings us a powerful level of joy.

As it turns out, he’s absolutely right. Hobbying can reduce stress, improve mood, and lower cortisol levels in the body. Even a creative outlet like drawing can be meditative, and helps us become more mindful. Our hobbies help us pause and regain a sense of control over our lives. They give us purpose and meaning.

2.    Mental Health
We all need to unwind sometimes. Why not do it while challenging your brain and improving your mental health? Picking up a new hobby is great for the mind. In addition to creating new neuropathways in the brain, it can even reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

3.    Confidence and Esteem
Need a confidence boost? Try something new! Creative expression meets you wherever you are, allowing you to create something simple or complex, depending upon your skill level. As you build proficiencies at new skills such as drawing, painting, or woodworking, you’ll also begin to feel accomplished. This will, in turn, raise your self-esteem.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll even become so proficient at your new hobby that you end up opening your own business someday...

4.    Relationships
Hobbies provide valuable opportunities for socializing with people who share your interests. This can be a wonderful way to bond with your loved ones or strengthen relationship with a significant other. If you’re looking to expand your social circle, hobbies also offer opportunities for making new friends, building relationships, and creating a support system of like-minded people.

5.    Addiction Recovery
These days, there are a wild variety of alternative resources available for helping recovering addicts break free from the addiction cycle. Art therapy has shown promising results by providing stress relief, reducing cravings, and allowing recovering addicts to channel their energies and emotions into creative expression.

Artistic hobbies can help you refocus your mind if you are in addiction recovery, making it easier to get (and stay) clean and sober. Taking your mind off your addiction is a great way to remain dedicated to your decision to build a vibrant, creative, and sober life for yourself.

Now that we know the benefits of having a hobby, you might still be hesitant to pick up a paintbrush if you’ve never considered yourself to be creative or artistic. According to author Elizabeth Gilbert, “If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.” All it takes is finding a hobby that resonates with you, then unlocking your creative potential. If painting isn’t your thing, give drawing a try. If you don’t enjoy drawing, try ceramics. Keep trying until you find something you enjoy. The possibilities are endless!

Check out our adult art classes here at the studio for classes that aim to help you discover a creative outlet, focus on self expression, and offer a creative mindfulness approach to art! Read more about our classes here or visit our online store to register. 

Of course, there are no magical “quick fixes” for those who are battling addiction,depression, anxiety, or simply feeling stuck. Be patient with yourself. Developing a new skill takes time, bravery, and willingness to be outside of your comfort zone. Just like with anything else in life, there will be ups, downs, and unexpected challenges. Take your time and be compassionate with yourself. By going slowly and remaining persistent, you’ll gradually make baby steps in the right direction. You might even find that your creative new hobby transforms your life.  

Written by, Aimee Lyons

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