How Family DIY Projects Are Great For Mental Health

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I had always known of my parents’ desire to move our little family of four to a farm for as long as I could recall. We already had a pretty good life in the city, considering both of them worked in the financial investment sector. But since they grew up on the farm themselves, they wanted the same thing for us.

The opportunity knocked when a family friend wanted to sell a small piece of land near the mountains in Montana. The man didn’t need to offer it to my parents twice as they agreed to buy it on the same day. I remembered Mom and Dad talking excitedly and saying, “I couldn’t wait to start building a house there and raising cattle and horses and sheep. I’m sure our kids would love farm life.”

In reality, I was against the idea in the beginning. I was ten years old at the time; even though I hadn’t been alive for too long, I spent all my years in the city. The change that the parents wanted to make sounded too scary for me. However, since they put a significant amount of money on building a farm, I went with the flow half-heartedly. I thought that I only needed to wait for eight more years before I could go back to the city where I belonged.

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Changes, Changes

A funny thing about changes (which I realized later) was that you could never expect how you’d perceive it once you experience it. As mentioned above, when my parents were still discussing the farm, I felt upset about it. Though I knew there was no way for me to stay behind, I tried to plan how I could return to the city as soon as I turned 18 years old. However, once we started living in our new farm, I ended up liking it.

The land that my parents bought was at least two hours away from the town proper. When we arrived for the first time, there was nothing but the log house that they asked a contractor to build in a rush. Of course, I fell in love with it because I had been dreaming of living in one ever since I watched Snow White stay at the dwarves’ wooden home. My room even had a clear view of the mountain, so it was terrific.

The next day, I woke up and looked out of the window to see Dad opening the gates for a massive truck with livestock inside. I was so amazed when they set the animals free, and they started running around the farm. Chicken, horses, cows, sheep – you name it. My little brother and I spent the entire day running after them and making sure that they didn’t leave the property line.

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Family DIY Projects

But you know, herding animals was not the most exciting thing that we did on the farm. Since our log house was the only structure erected in the land, there was no shelter for the animals. When I asked about it, Dad said, “Then, I guess we should start building it. Would you help me?”

Of course, I did. Every morning, Mom would wake us all up at six o’clock in the morning to feed all the animals. The feeding session usually took two hours, considering only my father could lift bundles of hay for the bigger creatures. My mother would then go back to the house to cook lunch while we proceeded to the barn site.

Though a couple of Dad’s friends came by to help, my brother and I tried to be the best assistants they could ever ask for. For instance, if they needed a wrench or hammer, we would be there to get it for them. If they were thirsty, we would run to the house to get a pitcher of ice-cold water and some snacks. And when it was painting time, we took pride in holding paint rollers and moving it as far as our little arms would let us.

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Ideal For Mental Health

The entire family spent the summer DIY-ing the barn for the farm animals. It was much different from what I was used to, given that we were in the Bahamas a year before that, laying on the beach most of the time. However, looking back at it now, I must say that doing group DIY projects like that were more ideal for our mental health than going to any tourist destination.

After all, the projects gave my brother and me a sense of responsibility, which we never had when we lived in the city. We started waking up with a purpose; no one even whined about feeling bored because it was amazing to see the barn taking form before our eyes.

My parents didn’t hear me complain about moving to Montana since then as I embraced farm life completely.

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Family Wellness: Mental Health And Art Therapy

 

 

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We pursue creative hobbies like painting, writing, drawing, dancing, or acting merely because we love doing them. Instinctively, we do know that practicing creativity is healthy for us and our creative desires give us joy and fulfillment. But can we benefit mentally and emotionally from being creative? Indeed, art therapy makes us feel unburdened and happy at the end of the day, but what are other benefits that we can get from it? Can it help improve family wellness?

Often, people do creative activities as a form of recreation, while others do it as a livelihood. No matter which path you have taken to release your imaginations and your need to express your self-kempt emotions, it’s quite obvious that creating things is part of being human. We’ve been using art for centuries, owing from the vague marks of the hands and rough drawings of images on caves. We could say that our desire to use art is inherent. We had benefited from art over the years when we learned to make houses, cook food, draw blueprints, and even formulate medicines.

At times, however, we make things just to make it. Does this mean that sometimes art is useless? Regardless of this theory, several studies, particularly in the medical arena, have shown that almost all kinds of art forms are, in fact, beneficial for one’s physical, emotional, and mental health.

Below is a list of proven benefits that creative pursuit – dancing, drawing, writing, etc. – can provide us with. We strongly recommend that you incorporate creativity into your life as well.

Positive Impact On The Brain

Writing in the form of poetry or simply journaling can effectively help a person learn and memorize. But not if you intentionally type or write down the concepts that you want to recall – now, that won’t work. If learning efficiently is your purpose, experts suggest that you do it conventionally by using pen and paper.

Additionally, writing music also promotes better brain function. If Albert Einstein had not been a genius physicist, he confessed that he would have become a great musician. This is further proven to be true by a study done in 2014 about participants who had musical training, like those who practiced using a musical instrument. At the end of the study, a majority of the participants who played instruments had increased connectivity between the two cerebral hemispheres.

 

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Enhanced Mental Well-Being

Science has time and again revealed that painting, drawing, and clay work is tools that can be used for individuals that experienced trauma. An article also described art as something that aids people in expressing how they feel about their encounters that are too hard to explain verbally. It also stated that self-expression might probably even help maintain or create a positive identity.

Expressive writing, on the other hand, which involves individuals to recount a situation and discuss how it has impacted their lives, has been shown to help those who have been traumatized and have enabled them to deal with their negative emotions. Like visual expression, this form of writing gives people the ability to take unpleasant situations that are difficult to alter and incorporate them into the story of their life, which eventually creates meaning for experiences that have left deep-seated scars. Examples of these are the loss of a loved one, sexual abuse, or a medical diagnosis.

Benefits To Physical Wellness

People who have jotted down their traumatic encounters have exhibited substantial improvements in different measures of physical wellness, a decrease in doctors’ appointments, and improved immune system functions. This was supported by a trial that entailed participants going through HIV treatment, which showed that expressive writing aided the participants in improving their immune systems.

The reason for this is not very clear, but those who reported their experiences regularly presented with a boosted CD4+ lymphocyte count.

Music Therapy

This is also another immune system booster. Music impacts our brains in complicated ways, activating the limbic system, and soothing one’s responses to stress. Experts Nobel and Stuckey state that listening to your favorite music may help regain one’s immune system functions partly through the hypothalamus and the amygdala, regions of the brain that are for hormonal and mood regulation.

Benefits of Dancing

Creativity could also be a mobile pursuit, the kind of mobility that provides its range of benefits. For example, a trial that focused on breast cancer survivors revealed that dancing helped promote better shoulder stability and function and positively affected their self-image. Also, dancing is an enjoyable means of keeping yourself fit and healthy.

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Studies on Zumba and hip-hop programs, improving one’s blood pressure and other vital signs, have encouraged many men and women to continue dancing as a form of keeping themselves physically and mentally fit.

Ultimately, if we can maintain or improve our physical and mental states by painting, journaling, playing the piano or guitar, or just dancing our problems away, then why not welcome more creativity and art into our lives?