The Mental Health Benefits of Art Are for Everyone
Creating art is a very effective way to stimulate the brain and anyone can do it. Learn the many benefits of art and why it’s so helpful for mental health.
“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” — Pablo Picasso
There are a lot of misconceptions floating around about art.
Some think you have to be creating paintings or sculptures to be considered a real artist.
Others believe that you are either born with talent — or not.
Many are afraid that since they aren’t very good at something, there is no point and they won’t get any benefit from doing it.
Another myth is that you have to work with an art therapist to get any therapeutic benefit from doing art.
But we are all born with an innate desire to express ourselves and art encompasses a wider range of activities than you may have ever imagined.
Here are some of the best ways creative expression can benefit your brain and mental health to make you a happier, healthier person.
Creating Art Relieves Stress
Activities like painting, sculpting, drawing, and photography are relaxing and rewarding hobbies that can lower your stress levels and leave you feeling mentally clear and calm.
Creating art provides a distraction, giving your brain a break from your usual thoughts.
The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day and 95% of them are exactly the same day in, day out!
When you get totally immersed in a creative endeavor, you may find yourself in what’s known as “the zone” or in a state of “flow.”
This meditative-like state focuses your mind and temporarily pushes aside all your worries.
Leonardo da Vinci said, “Painting embraces all the ten functions of the eye; that is to say, darkness, light, body and color, shape and location, distance and closeness, motion and rest.”
Creating art trains you to concentrate on details and pay more attention to your environment. In this way, it acts like meditation.
A popular art trend for stress relief is adult coloring books.
This idea was first popularized in France, a country that’s number one in per capita consumption of antidepressants, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills.
Some coloring books are created with stress relief in mind and have become an acceptable adult form of artistic expression.
Many art therapists are supportive of the movement and would like to see coloring become a gateway to reach those who could benefit from art therapy.
So far, this has worked to gently transition veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) into art therapy.