Creating and learning are some of the best activities to keep your mind sharp. When you learn, you are creating new neural connections in the brain that helps to reduce memory loss as you age. In this episode, Vincent and Laura discuss ways that you can create and learn to help overcome your anxiety and depression.

061 Personal Growth: Coping Skills Part 8 – Creating and Learning


About the Series

We hope you had a “beautiful” week, after listening to our episode on aesthetics last week!  If you are new to us, HI! We are Vincent and Laura Ketchie, a husband and wife therapist team and we are Relationship Helpers.  Our podcast aims to give you tips to help you improve relationships, as well as help you to grow personally.

This week marks our seventh part in a ten part series on “101 Activities That You Can Do To Improve Your Mood.”  We have been taking a look at how depression can cause overwhelm, which leads many people to feel powerless in overcoming their poor mood.

We have divided the over one hundred activities into ten different themes.  Each week we feature a different theme.  Last week we took a look at what makes life beautiful and how you can be a part of that. Be sure to give it a listen.

Today we will discuss creating and learning.  Many of these activities are related to last week’s episode, except that in last week’s episode we talked about being the spectator of them, this time, you are actually creating the lovely sound or artwork!

Make a Joyful Noise!

As with each week before, remember Philippians 4: 8. Think on things true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report. It is hard to be negative when your mind is focusing on these things.  Some of today’s activities can even be considered as worship. (Remember that if you question your singing voice or ability to carry a tune!)

28. Paint in watercolor.  Watercolor painting is inexpensive and can be done quickly. Studies have found that painting can lower stress hormone levels.  Art is also a great way to engage kids.

41. Take a sculpting class. Sculpting can be a good way to reduce stress and get in touch with your feelings. You may even want to make a family sculpture to better understand your role in your family.

45. Learn some magic tricks. Learning magic tricks is not only fun, but it can help you feel more confident. It can be a great ice-breaker in social settings. Learning magic can help you build many other skills like good hand-eye coordination.

52. Learn to play an instrument.  Learning to play an instrument develops self-confidence, especially when you learn to play a piece that is difficult or that you have heard a professional play before.  Studies show that it helps to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. 

55. Cook a new and different meal. Cooking provides many mental health benefits like stress relief, relief from boredom, improved memory, attention and focus, increased sensory awareness, and a sense of accomplishment.

More Activities in Creating and Learning

63. Learn a new language. Depression oftentimes limits your thinking. By expanding your knowledge, you expand your world. You have many more opportunities.

71. Take a class at the local community college.  Never stop learning! Learning beyond school-age years can improve our mental wellbeing.  It can give us a sense of purpose, improve self-confidence and self-esteem.

85. Read a biography.  Journalist Shane Snow calls reading biographies “self-help in disguise.”  By the time the person’s book is written, we get to read how that person overcame obstacles in their life and how they succeeded in life.  Reading biographies can be motivating.

88. Start a hobby that is inexpensive.  Performing a hobby can lower blood pressure. Finding purpose in your hobby can make what you do more successful.  Regularly participating in a hobby lowers depression. 

89. Knit a shawl. Studies have shown that knitting is soothing, calming the heart rate and is therapeutic for conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and post traumatic stress disorder.


Your depression may have told you the lie “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.” Regardless if you take up knitting and you make a beautiful scarf or a ratty one, the point is not what you produce but the process. In fact, continuing your knitting will only improve your skills and coordination and the end products will improve with time. 

Of course, this analogy applies to any of the above listed activities. Don’t let depression discourage you from trying something new based on the premise that you are not “good” at something.  If you are struggling with this mentality, I would encourage you to face the new activity like a child. No expectations.

Published by

Vincent & Laura Ketchie

Vincent Ketchie, LPC and Laura Ketchie, LPC are the hosts of Relationship Helpers, a podcast where they discuss family issues and interview relationship experts. Vincent and Laura are licensed marriage counselors.

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