World Mental Health Day: Creative Ideas to Help Your Teen Channel Their Feelings

Creative Therapy Activities for Teens

This Sunday, October 10th, marks World Mental Health Day! In honor of this special holiday, we want to do our part by spreading awareness of simple and affordable teen mental health resources. For young people, sometimes something as simple as providing a creative outlet can make a world of difference in helping them channel their emotions into something positive and beautiful. Anything from movement to music can be instrumental in emotional processing. So, keep reading for our curated tips on creative therapy activities for teens.

Artsy Activities  

Encourage your teen to get colorful and creative in any way that suits their style. Sketching and painting are fantastic ways to explore emotions through artistic forms. This can also be a means to get your teen out into nature to practice photography or to sketch a landscape, calming them through multiple outlets. For something more structured and simple, find zen coloring books for your teen to practice on before they build up to crafting original pieces of their own. Or, if they want to work with lettering, calligraphy can be a fun way to decorate their work and surround themselves with beauty at the same time.

Working with Words

Effective emotional processing techniques often work with getting feelings flowing through the mind and into a physical being or object. One excellent way is to have your teen write down stories or poetry that captures how they are feeling. For the fiction fanatic, have them create a story that features the feelings they are experiencing and give it a happy ending. To explore their emotions more deeply, encourage them to try crafting some pieces of poetry. Whatever method they choose, these wordsmithing ways are positive and productive means to express themselves.

Pen to Paper

Maybe creative writing or visual art is too difficult or not of interest to your teen. Not to worry, they can still put pen to paper in a therapeutic way. It can be as straightforward as writing their feelings down in a journal. They can start with just getting down the emotions they are feeling one word at a time: “angry,” “sad,” or “anxious,” and work up to describing more thoroughly how and why these emotions are occurring. This can be an excellent step towards teens’ better understanding of themselves and the difficulties they face in life. 

Movement as Medicine

Just as words and pictures can be powerful tools, so can movement. In fact, getting the body up and the blood flowing can help your teen kick up endorphins while being creative too. Dancing is not only exercise but expression too. Encourage your teen to turn up their favorite tunes and dance it out! If they need to start small or prefer something more calm, they can begin with stretching and yoga to work their way up to bigger moves. Getting the body moving provides a release of tension that might just be instantly felt through new positive emotions!

Sounds of Serenity

Auditory influences can provide a lot of peace and tranquility for young people. They often gravitate towards music that channels their emotions, and listening can help them feel more fully and deeply without acting out. To take the exercise a step further, encourage them to start making playlists according to emotions they are feeling. They can choose to sing along to release tension and pent up negative energy. If they have an instrument, this is a great time to practice honing their musical talents and their emotions at the same time. 

At Tilly’s Life Center, we know that sometimes imaginative endeavours can be one of the best natural medicines. Creative therapy activities for teens are simple, easy, and low-cost ways for young people to learn emotional processing techniques that work for them. Our mission is to advocate for youth by providing these and other teen mental health resources that are both accessible and effective. To learn more about our programs and workshops, visit