There are many different forms of art, such as painting, playing music, sculpting and even writing. Each of these forms contributes to one’s physical and mental wellbeing. When it comes to art and mental health, it’s interesting to mention how art and emotion are linked together. Many artists believe that creating art is the only way for them to express their feelings and emotions. Giving people a means of safely releasing emotions and emotional tension is why art benefits mental health.
In order to use art as a form of therapy or as a means of expressing your feelings, you need very little training. All you need is to be open and honest with yourself. It is important to know that you don’t have to be good at art in order to create it because the process of creating the artwork is what matters, and not the final product. When you think about it, it’s not the picture or the tune that produces the benefit, but the process of practicing an artistic form of expression. The act is actually what heals you.
Here are 5 reasons why creating art is good for your mental health.
Why Is Art Good for Mental Health?
Art is always fun, relaxing and joyous activity. Also, numerous studies confirm that art can improve one’s mental health and wellbeing. Scientifically proven mental health benefits of art include stress reduction, enhanced creative thinking, improved brain connectivity and plasticity, increased self-esteem, and increased empathy. Let’s take a closer look at each of the mentioned benefits.
When you take some time out of your day to create art, you just stop thinking about the world around you as well as everything that bothers you. You stop worrying and thinking about yourself and focus merely on the artistic process. Engaging in creative activities helps to reconnect with yourself and be more aware of the present moment. Art provides similar stress relief as mediation and allows you to ‘escape’ your daily problems. While creating art, you will focus on the details, and simply block everything else out.
Creative forms of expression such as painting, dancing or playing music require using different parts of your brain at the same time. The process of creative thinking engages your mind in different ways and produces brain chemicals that are very different from the ones created when you are applying logical thinking. Therefore, creating art is a good exercise for your brain. When you adapt to creative thinking, you can apply to other areas of your life, not only to creating art. Potentially, this may help you find alternate solutions to your problems and see things from a different perspective. In art, there is no right or wrong answer – everything is subjective. Due to this, you will open your mind to considering alternate solutions. Practicing creative thinking through art will improve your mental health by preparing your brain to tackle new problems and issues in different ways and by using out-of-the-box thinking.
Brain Connectivity and Plasticity
Thanks to art, your brain’s plasticity can improve and grow new connections over time. Developing new brain connections and ability to create new thought patterns is helpful for your mental health because it allows you to recover faster from bad experiences and emotional traumas. For example, in PTSD and addiction, in order to recover, it’s crucial to find a way to work around old pathways that are no longer useful to you. Engaging in artistic activities creates new pathways in your brain between cells.
Each type or form of art requires different skills such as drawing, ear training, eye-hand coordination and similar, and practicing art can help you improve those skills. Over time, you will notice improvements in the overall quality of your work, and that will certainly provide you with a sense of accomplishment and boost your confidence. Finishing a piece of art means you were able to manage the medium and express your own vision which will further provide satisfaction and increase your confidence.
Looking at art, whether it’s your own or someone else’s work evokes certain emotions. Studies actually show that these feelings emerge at the same parts of your brain where you sense romantic love. Through brain chemicals and neuroscience actually increases your feelings of love and empathy for others. Empathy is very important for strengthening our connections and relationships with one another, and it can, therefore, improve mental health. When you understand and empathize with the people around you, you are less likely to experience stress as a response to one’s words or actions.
So, as you can see, mental health benefits of creating art are numerous. Since creative activities are so healthy and beneficial for you, there is no reason not to bring them more into your life. Start by visiting your local art gallery or buying a sketchbook to create artwork of your own.