Taking a painting class or visiting a museum can improve your health and transform your life. Now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, millions of people are turning to art to get opportunities for expression or find a creative outlet. Attraction to art can also be driven by our desire to use our brains in ways that will make us feel good. In the past, people thought that the benefits of artistic expression were only enjoyment and relaxation. However, scientific studies have shown that art plays a critical role in promoting health and well-being. Art will help you express your emotions and process complex feelings without having to explain yourself. In this post, we are going to discuss art and its mental benefits.
Defining art therapy
Art therapy can be defined in different ways. However, it’s all about applying visual arts for therapeutic purposes. There are a lot of activities that you can try in the comfort of your home and with your class such as sketching, sculpting with clay, or journaling. It doesn’t matter what you choose. The only important thing is how comfortable you feel using these methods.
For individuals, working with a professional therapist has numerous advantages because they can tailor these activities to your needs. Doing these activities in groups is also great for building healthy relationships with other people. This is especially important if you want to relieve stress or fight depression. In addition, giving yourself the opportunity to try SEAL strategies and lessons in the classroom can be a huge benefit to your students. Let’s explore some of these benefits here!
Benefits of art
As we said earlier, there are a lot of mental health benefits linked to art. And they include:
1. Relieving stress
One of the biggest benefits of art is relieving stress. This applies to both students and adults. Art and mental health are positively connected. Artistic activities such as painting, drawing, and sculpting have been linked to lower stress and mental calmness. These artistic activities take your mind off your daily activities and provide a distraction. The brain gets into a state of flow when creating art and negative mental states such as fear and worry get set aside. The health benefits of art are one of the biggest reasons why art is used to treat PTSD. Something as simple as coloring books work wonders.
2. Enhances creativity and imagination
Another great benefit of art is that it encourages imagination and creative thinking in both kids and adults. It helps in developing and improving problem-solving skills. Since there is no right or wrong in art, people can imagine different solutions to the problems that they are facing with different ways of thinking. This type of creative thinking allows the brain to perform complicated functions in ways that learning a new language does.
3. Boosts self-esteem
Creating art will help you feel better about yourself because it provides a sense of accomplishment. It stimulates the brain to produce dopamine which is a hormone that makes people feel good about themselves, improves concentration, and increases drive. After completing a creative project, you’ll feel happy and satisfied with yourself. This is part of self-awareness and self-management: two of CASEL’s SEL competencies. This process of creating something unique to you creates additional neural pathways in your brain that prevent depression, promote a sense of well-being, and even slows down aging.
4. Helps in making memories
Creating art among students is a wonderful way to build relationships and create lasting memories. Communal art making and sharing the creative process is a great way to help students build their social-awareness and relationship skills, two important competencies in CASEL’s wheel.
This point can also compel you to have your students work with senior in the community! Arrange a trip to the museum or have an art class cross generations. Art can improve memory and various cognitive abilities for people with brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Creating visual art helps in transforming the lives of people with these conditions by increasing connectivity, giving them a source of pleasure, and promoting cell growth.
5. Say goodbye to pain
Chronic health conditions are affecting millions of people, including students, across the world. And they are usually accompanied by pain, depression, stress, and anxiety. If your students (or loved ones) suffer from chronic health issues, consider having them look at or create art and help them escape the pain. Art is a great way to help people suffering from chronic conditions by distracting them with positive experiences and helping them experience a sense of achievement. This will also help in expressing their feelings about their pain.
Tips for aspiring artists
- Make mistakes: You and your students need to try new things and be willing to make several mistakes. This is less about completing a masterpiece and more about creating something for yourself! Be patient with yourself and allow your mind to explore the creative world.
- Reuse materials: You may want to play and experiment with various reusable materials to save resources. Plus, most reusable materials can be reshaped over and over again. Consider taking photos of your creations before letting them go.
You’re a busy teacher and you have your students working hard too! It’s ok to take some time to reconnect with yourself and promote your health and wellbeing by participating in different forms of art. How will you start?
Justin Osborne is a essay writer, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as a content marketer at bestessays.com.