Self-help > Wellbeing tips > Creativity


Creative activities have been proven to boost your mental health and wellbeing.

By exploring the arts, whether that be taking part in, watching or experiencing, you can become more aware of your own feelings, learn from others and make positive changes in your life.

Hands molding clay

Ideas and resources

Creative activities can include:

  • drawing
  • painting
  • taking photographs
  • listening to music
  • playing an instrument
  • writing stories or poetry
  • dancing
  • singing
  • crafting

We have founds some great resources for you to learn more about the benefits of creative activities as well as some ideas on how to get started.

NHS Lothian’s Art Therapies’ online arts resources for self-care

Art in Healthcare’s online resource of techniques and inspiration to get creative

Art and mental health research from the Mental Health Foundation

6 mindful crafts to help you switch off by Kathryn Wheeler at Happiful

Arts and Creative therapies factsheet from Mind

Five great mental health benefits of art from Art from the streets

100 art therapy exercises from Intuitive Creativity

The Healing Power of Art from Harvard University

‘It’s time to recognise the contribution arts can make to health and wellbeing’ by Nicola Slawson at The Guardian

Organisations and projects

Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival is one of Scotland’s most diverse cultural events, aiming to support the arts and challenge preconceived ideas about mental health.

Ama-zing Harmonies is a community singing group in North West Edinburgh that brings people together through music and food.

The Alma Project promotes the use of the arts as a therapeutic benefit for good mental health.

North Edinburgh Arts offers local residents a place to relax, explore, learn, meet, share, volunteer and have fun in.

WHALE Arts works with the local community in Wester Hailes and provides creative opportunities through the direct delivery of projects, programmes and events.

Artlink aims to increase opportunities to take part in the arts for those who experience disadvantage or disability in the East of Scotland.

Out of the Blue offers opportunities for artists and members of the community to learn, participate and earn income.

Out Of Sight Out Of Mind is a visual art exhibition in Edinburgh occurring every October as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts And Film Festival.

The Creative Space Gallery exhibits work from adult learners from the Tryst Art Group, the Art Zine Group and the Clickers Club, all of which were creatively engaged with online learning during COVID-19. These art groups normally meet at community centres in South West Edinburgh and offer spaces for adults to come together, share their skills and knowledge and support those who may feel isolated.

Art in Healthcare uses visual art to improve health and wellbeing. The team at Art in Healthcare have created a wide range of online resources and as well as hosting workshops designed to promote wellbeing.

If you are looking for support that involves creative activities, please go to our service directory and find what services and project are available to you.

The inside of the National Museum of Scotland

Museums and galleries

Edinburgh Museums and Galleries venues information can be found here –

List of art galleries in Edinburgh –

Stills is a centre for photography based in the heart of Edinburgh.

Jupiter Artland is private collection of contemporary art open to the public.

Share your creativity with us!

Let us know what creative projects you’re doing and what resources have inspired you. Please send them to us at or share them on Twitter #iThrive.

Our iThrive Edinburgh volunteer keeps well by painting at home and with her art group. Check out her beautiful watercolour painting.

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