Creating, viewing, and participating in art has been shown to have tremendous mental health benefits, and the best thing is that it doesn’t matter how good anyone is at art. What counts is opening up the creative flow, expressing yourself through art, and exploring those creations.
Art therapy can benefit pretty much everyone and is especially helpful to people living with depression, anxiety, addiction, grief and loss, trauma, physical illness, relationship issues, and much more. The focus is on creating meaning and connection in your life, and everyone can do that.
Creating art stimulates the release of dopamine, which is one of the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Increased levels of this dopamine neurotransmitter can relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. The process is a journey in itself and can help artists get past their emotional roadblocks and connect with themselves and others along the way.
As stated above, it doesn’t matter how skilled anyone is at making art, and for the most part, the kind of art doesn’t matter either. Mediums that have been successful in art therapy practices include sculpting and pottery, journaling, painting and drawing, making collages, and more.
There’s really no downside to creating art, and some of the most significant upsides include:
- Increased self-esteem: Completing art projects makes people feel accomplished, and that can boost self-confidence and self-appreciation.
- Self-discovery: The process of creating and/or interpreting artworks helps people recognize and acknowledge feelings that may have been stuck in the subconscious. In addition, finding commonalities with other artists increases a sense of connection with other people and the world.
- Emotional release: Making art provides an outlet for feelings, fears, and complex emotions. These may seem overwhelming, and people may be afraid to put them into words, but art is a healthy release for these pent-up feelings.
- Stress release: Mental health can be hard work sometimes, and battling trauma, depression, and anxiety takes a toll on the body and brain. As described above, creating and connecting with art is a way to put all of this in perspective.