17th May 2022
After someone dies, or you lose something important, it can be hard to imagine doing anything creative – or anything at all, for that matter. Grief can leave people feeling numb, unmotivated, angry, or highly depressed, and it takes time to work through those emotions. Eventually, though, you may find that creative exploration of any kind – cooking, painting, singing, knitting, etc. – makes you feel better. That is because creativity actively helps with the grieving process in a number of ways. Over the years as a bereavement counsellor in Harrogate and online, I have seen how people have benefitted from being creative.
In this blog post, we will walk through three ways creativity helps with the grieving process.
Stimulates Your Left Brain
The right hemisphere of your brain deals with emotions like anxiety and fear. During periods of grief, this zone is more active. At the same time, the left hemisphere – the area responsible for positive emotions like joy and hope – becomes deactivated, unused. By tapping into your creative bone, you are actively reinvigorating the part of your brain that brings a sense of purpose and play into your life, thereby balancing out the over-activation of the right hemisphere.
Process Painful Emotions
A sense of acute loss will not immediately encourage someone to be creative. There will most likely be a period of shock and mourning. However, after some time, creativity becomes an especially powerful outlet for processing grief. We hold grief in our body, and putting it onto a canvas of some kind – painting, writing, singing, and so on – can have an incredible unburdening effect. Many people struggle to talk about their grief in such direct terms, and it can be much easier to communicate their emotions through creativity.
Focus and Purpose
Whether someone is grieving, or simply struggling with mental health issues not associated with a bereavement, the worst thing they can do is fall idle. Staying with your own thoughts and having nothing to look forward to only makes the situation worse. Having a creative project gets you out of that static headspace. Whether you are writing something, painting, or cooking, the activity forces you to have a sense of focus and purpose, consequently bringing you more in touch with your body and preventing you from isolating yourself with your thoughts.
You might be struggling with a loss of some kind, or perhaps know someone who is grieving. If this is the case, I offer strictly confidential, friendly, personalised bereavement counselling in Harrogate or online. Feel free to give me a call whenever you like.