Art Therapy for Mental Health Recovery

Art, no matter whether you decide to create it or merely observe it, can significantly contribute to your mental wellbeing.

It’s also important to know that any form of creative expression, whether it’s music, painting, dancing or something else can aid your mental health recovery.

Emotions and art are firmly connected, and many artists claim creative expression is the only way for them to express their feelings.

Art may not be the only way to show your feelings, but it is definitely one of the most natural and safest ways to do it. People benefit from art so much because it gives them a way to relieve emotional tension.

How to Use Art to Improve Mental Health?

Using art to improve your mental health is not hard, and actually requires little training. You don’t have to be a talented artist in order to paint, dance or sculpt. In art therapy, the focus is not on the final product, but on the process of creating and releasing your emotions. The end product is not what will heal you, but the process of creating art.

If you don’t feel ready to create art yourself, you can always look for inspiration at a local art exhibit. Viewing and interpreting artwork can also help you enjoy the healing benefits of art. However, engaging in artistic projects yourself will bring you more benefits.

Why Art is Good for Mental Health?

Art is entertaining and relaxing, and many people enjoy spending their time observing or creating different types of artwork. Apart from being fun and enjoyable, it is scientifically and clinically proven that art benefits our mental health. Among other things, art helps you to reduce stress, enhance creative thinking, improve brain connectivity and plasticity, boost your self-esteem and increase empathy.

Stress Reduction

Every artistic activity is calming, and since it requires you to focus, it can be used to distract you from your worries. When creating art, you will stop thinking about yourself, and you will reconnect with yourself and become more aware of your physical state in-the-moment. It provides you a mental escape from your daily problems and stress.

Creative Thinking

All creative forms of expression require you to use different parts of your brain. Being creative engages your mind differently and produces chemicals that are not enhanced in your every day or logical thinking. It is vital to exercise different areas of our brain and work on developing our creative thinking skills. In art, there are no right or wrong answers. Everything is subjective, and that gives you the possibility to look for alternate options and solutions. Exercising creative thinking through art can help your brain learn how to tackle everyday issues in different, original and new ways.

Brain Connectivity

Brain plasticity is your mind’s ability to change and grow new neural connections. Positive mental health requires you to be able to adapt to different situations in your life. For example, in order to recover from some bad experiences in your life, you need to develop new thought patterns. You also need to work around old thought patterns and improve them. This is very important when a person has gone through a trauma or suffers from PTSD. Being stuck in the past or on old thought patterns is very bad, and creating art can help you find a way around them.

Improve Self-Esteem

Even if you are not an artist and don’t believe you have any talent, practicing and pursuing an artistic endeavor will over time improve your creative skills. Seeing a noticeable improvement in the quality of your finished works will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-esteem. Confidence is built on recognizing your accomplishments and understanding how they affect the rest of your life. Also, it will give you the confidence to put in more effort in other things you want to do in life.

Increased Empathy

Lastly, viewing art increases your feelings of love and empathy for others. Compassion is essential for strengthening our connections to one another. When you empathize and emotionally understand the people around you, you are less likely to experience stress in response to their words or actions.

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