HEALING EFFECTS OF ART ON MENTAL HEALTH
Updated: Aug 29
Art is a medium that has been known to have great healing effects on various health concerns. The simple sensory pleasure that it offers can help individuals with their mental health, too. Studies show that creating art releases happy chemicals like dopamine, that make us feel happier, reducing the levels of anxiety, stress, and depression.
Art can be in a variety of forms like painting, photography, singing, dance, etc. Through art, people can look for conflicting ideas, beliefs, and themes that might be affecting their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It acts as a healing strategy. One does not have to be an artist to use art for better mental health and well-being. It is meant to lower your stress levels and help you feel calm and relaxed. Anything that makes you feel at peace, is art!
On average, we have around 60,000 thoughts every day. Creativity and art provide a fresh mindset and distraction from the ongoing disturbing thoughts that we have on a day-to-day basis. When we get into the creative zone of art, we find ourselves in a state of flow, where we focus on the present and put the worries and disturbing thoughts aside. It helps us focus on positive life experiences. It gives us a healthy outlet to express our feelings and fears. If we are feeling angry or frustrated and cannot express this anger with words, art gives us the power to express this emotion which makes it a cathartic medium of expression, too. Apart from that, it also helps us identify feelings that are present in our subconscious mind, which we are generally unaware of.
Art can also be used in the journey of self-identity and self-discovery. It can help with identifying emotional roadblocks by helping us to learn how to communicate with ourselves and others, to heal from our past lives, and not letting those experiences affect our emotional, social, and physical well-being, thereby helping us grow as individuals. Another benefit of using art as a medium is an increase in one’s self-esteem and confidence. The process of creating something brings about a sense of accomplishment leading to self-appreciation and an increase in confidence.
Art is being used with children to help them express and tell their stories, it also helps them to think creatively. Unlike other subjects, art does not have any right or wrong answers, one can draw and paint anything that comes to their mind and it can throw light on an individual’s ideas and perspectives and can also help one to understand the individual better. It also helps improve the quality of life in patients with dementia. People with dementia have problems related to cognitive functioning like memory. It has been found through research that creating art makes people feel happy, improves their self-esteem, and reduces symptoms of dementia.
Nowadays, teenagers and adults have started indulging in making mandalas, practicing doodling, and zentangles. A mandala is the most calming and satisfying art activity. It can help in improving concentration, and also helps with anxiety and anger management. Dilip Patel, a Zentangles expert says that engaging in doodling on a blank paper can help one experience a sense of freedom and well-being. Zentangles can help with driving away negative emotions of the traumatic experiences.
Here are a few activities you could try to understand how art helps you with your mental health!
Draw your happy place that stirs up warm and fuzzy feelings in you. This serves as a self-care technique and would help you deal with the chaos around you. When you draw this place, you will focus more on the positive aspects which will help you feel at peace.
Draw or make a collage of the most important milestones in your life. This is called a timeline journal. This activity helps with the expression of gratitude for the beautiful memories in life and also reminds an individual about the progress they have made.
Paint your window: A window lets us see in and out. The window you make will represent you and on this window try painting what you want to show to the world and what you do not want to. This would help with self-awareness and also becoming more open to the world.
Draw your fears as funny little monsters - draw something that scares you. This would help bring that fear to light and work towards facing it.
Make a mind map about the thoughts you have. This visual representation would help in identifying the situations which trigger the thoughts and what the behaviors are after the thoughts.
If you feel like you need to speak to a professional with regards to your mental health, write to us at email@example.com or Book your Initial Consultation on www.themoodspace.com/freeconsultation
Written by - Urvi Malani
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