Art can have many benefits for you both mentally and physically. Art is said to enrich our mental well-being by enhancing psychological growth, self-esteem, creativity, empathy development as well as emotional regulation. It provides an outlet for the expression of feelings that may not otherwise be recognized or acknowledged within ourselves or society at large. Moreover, it contributes positively towards physical health by improving cardiovascular functioning among other things. This article explores the ways in which art might serve as an effective tool in one’s life.
1. Art as a tool for mental health
In the mental health field, art therapy is a tool that was developed to work with people who have been traumatized. It is a form of psychotherapy that uses a variety of art media and techniques to promote emotional self-awareness and personal insight. The intention of the therapist, in this case, is not to provide a one-time resolution for the individual but to serve as a vehicle for exploring deeper issues and repressed emotions.
Art can also serve as an effective tool when it comes to physical health because it has been proven to improve cardiovascular functioning among other things. Whether it’s reading a book, making something from clay, painting, singing, etc, it can have a profound effect on our mental health. It also gives us more topics to talk about with our friends, exchange book recommendations, creative ideas, which helps us feed our creative hunger and satisfy our souls. Art is a form of exercise which has been shown to improve energy, enthusiasm, and moods. In one study, researchers found that participants who had a 90-minute art lesson showed an increase in heart rate for up to 30 minutes after the session was concluded compared with another group who did not have a lesson. This demonstrates that art acts as a form of exercise for the body similar to ones undertaken in an aerobics class.
Art also serves as a means to boost self-esteem and confidence, which can be done by initiating simple things like creating your own art pieces, decorating your home more aesthetically, or taking classes that allow you to learn something new while making new friends!
2. Art as a tool for social empowerment
Art has been used in some public schools to encourage children’s engagement and participation in an artistic field. Research suggests that access to arts education can improve students’ accomplishments in language and mathematics while also increasing their motivation and ability to learn – particularly among minority students who might otherwise be turned off by traditional lessons. Furthermore, learning about art can help increase empathy and build more empathetic citizens: recent research shows that studying the arts leads to higher levels of perspective-taking, one component of empathy. In the same study, it was found that children with low academic skills had greater improvement when they were taught using poetry than those reading only text-based materials. In another study looking at the effects of visual arts on schools, it was found that students showed marked improvement in self-concept, self-esteem, and peer relationships.
Art also benefits the community by helping people to share with one another. There are many examples of art galleries that open their doors to encourage community growth. For instance, The Bronx Museum offers 2 paid fellowships annually with preference given to applicants from underrepresented groups and those who grew up in the borough and went to high school there (1 fellowship is for a Latin American artist and 1 is for an Asian or Pacific Islander artist).
3. How Art Influences Society
Art has been used for centuries to express political ideas in order to affect social change. In 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down people began painting on it immediately as a way of celebrating their newfound freedom from communism in East Germany.
People who have grown up with art have a greater appreciation of it later in life. For example, in the past when people went to museums they would only go if it was part of a tour or something special like a wedding anniversary. Now, however, with the growing emphasis on education and the development of one’s intellect, many more people are going to museums regularly for pleasure without any other motivation than that they enjoy looking at art.
Art can also influence how we see ourselves because there is a strong connection between what we make and how we feel about ourselves. According to psychoanalyst Marion Milner: “Every time you make a thing, you assert your personality…you choose what you make yourself into by choosing what to make.”
4. Benefits of Art on Our Minds and Bodies
There are many examples showing how art has had a positive effect on health because it is both emotionally and physically stimulating to them:
- People who work with clay experience less stress after working with clay due to the tactile experience of working with clay
- Patients undergoing chemo who are given art supplies report feeling less nauseous
- Improving fine motor skills by practicing arts and crafts is also beneficial for children on the autism spectrum because it helps them to work on their coordination through repetition. Furthermore, autistic individuals often have restricted interests or repetitive behaviors which can be fulfilled by an artistic activity like painting or creating a collage.
5. How Art Can Be Used For Therapy
Art therapy has been used to help people deal with many life-altering situations, both temporary and ongoing:
- Loss/grief – grieving over the loss of someone or something valuable can involve grieving not just for that person or object, but grieving for the part of oneself that was lost along with it
- Depression – those who are depressed may not feel as though they have much to offer others. However, by expressing themselves through art they may begin to see how valuable their perspective is and therefore improve self-worth
- Anger management – people who let out anger through artistic means tend to do so in a healthier way than those who frequently resort to destructive behavior like getting into fights or drinking too much
- Addiction – many recovering addicts find solace in creating works of art as a way of working through their issues. Another example would be patient drawing sessions at psychiatric institutions where patients share what they draw and discuss emotional conflicts.
- Obsessions – whether it is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or even just an individual with a strong personality, art can help to channel that into something more positive than perhaps what the obsession was originally about
- Trauma/Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – art therapy has been influential in reducing trauma symptoms. It can act as a coping mechanism for dealing with stress and intense emotions associated with painful memories. Furthermore, it helps individuals to feel empowered by providing them credit to their own ability to heal if they are able to produce meaningful works of art.
Art has been shown to improve our mental and physical health, make us more empathetic, and generally make us happier. In this article, we explored the reasons why art could be a useful tool in your day-to-day life for improving your well-being or even just giving you emotional support when you need it most. We hope that by reading about how art can positively impact society as well as individuals, you’ll find new ways of approaching art in your own personal endeavors.
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash
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