The Benefits of Investing in Self-Expression

Why Expressing Yourself Matters

Recent research is finding a clear connection between self-expression and strong mental health. 

A poll conducted in June 2023 by the American Psychiatric Association found that 7 in 10 individuals engaging in creative activities such as crafting, writing, and walking in nature reported very good or excellent mental health. A 2016 study found that just 45 minutes of a creative activity can reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, regardless of gender or skillset, and a 2020 study of more than 10,000 Facebook users found that those who expressed themselves authentically on social media reported higher life satisfaction. Whether you pick up a new art practice, wear clothes that show your tastes and interests, or track your thoughts and feelings in a journal, self-expression can make a positive impact on your mental health. Read on to learn a few types of self-expression to try, and some tips to help you feel confident in expressing yourself.

Types of Self-Expression to Try

investing in self-expression | graphic illustration of people making music and art
  • Art forms like painting, sculpture, crafting, or drawing
  • Creating social media content in which you share your authentic self
  • Creative writing or daily journaling
  • Wearing clothes and jewelry that feel “you”
  • Cooking a fun, creative meal
  • Playing a sport
  • Trying something new

While there are clear advantages, self-expression can also feel very vulnerable, and it’s easy to shut down when trying something new. If you’re able to get out of your comfort zone and practice self-expression, there are many benefits including increased self-esteem, better communication skills, and more authentic relationships. These tips can help you get started.

Tips for Tackling Self-Expression

Find a Buddy: Doing something new for the first time can be challenging and daunting. Finding someone to partner with or participating in a beginners group can help you feel less intimidated by a new task, gain confidence in your abilities, and find validation from like-minded peers. And you may gain a new friend as a result!

Take Time for Yourself: Spending time alone can be very beneficial for your mental health and a great way to get to know your true self. Take time to yourself to reflect and learn about who you are. Using introspection can help you better understand your feelings, values, thought patterns, and more, helping you feel self-assured and committed to self-expression. Journaling, especially with guided prompts like “I laugh and smile when…,” are a great way to self-reflect.

Practice Makes Perfect: Chances are you won’t do something perfectly the first time – and that’s okay! Don’t give up if it’s challenging at the beginning. Expressing yourself will help you gain more confidence and boost your self-esteem, and it will get easier the more you do it.

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