The Healing Power of Creativity — How Engaging in Art Can Benefit Your Mental Health

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Everyone’s mental health journey is different, but most will understand that not having a way to channel your energy can be challenging. One of the most effective ways of doing this is having a hobby that reflects your personality and interests. Having this kind of outlet, in which you can properly express yourself, will ultimately benefit your mental well-being. And for many, this outlet is art.

The health benefits of creative expression | UPMC MyHealth Matters

Art Takes Many Forms

First, it’s important to establish what kind of ‘art’ is being referred to. The word can have many meanings, especially depending on who you’re talking to. Overall, art in this context refers to any creative outlet or hobby. This could be painting, sewing, singing, dancing, or doing your makeup — to name a few.

It Can Be an Additive to the Treatment

A creative outlet can be a powerful addition to your mental health treatment. It’s important to realize this isn’t a replacement for treatment, such as antidepressants or therapy. Those incomparable resources should be explored should you need assistance in your mental health journey.

However, having hobbies that allow you to express yourself can do wonders mentally. Having that extra resource outside of treatment that you can do alone encourages you to channel positive energy. It’s no wonder therapists, and many mental health programs encourage their patients to participate in arts and crafts.

So, What Can Art Do for You?

It’s been established that art can positively impact your mental health. But you might be wondering how exactly that’s possible. Here are a few ways art benefits your mental health.

Relaxes You

For many people, engaging in art can have a relaxing effect. How your paintbrush glides across the canvas might be pleasing. Singing a song that reflects your true feelings could give you a sense of release. The accomplishment you feel after completing a new poem might be euphoric. These emotions tend to be connected to a sense of relaxation.

When participating in a craft or hobby that brings you joy, you naturally will feel more at ease. This is how art can be relaxing if you enjoy it. This is especially true if you take your time with the craft. Finishing a project quickly will not comfort you; it could increase anxiety. So take it slow, letting yourself truly enjoy what you’re doing.

Gives You Something Positive to Focus on

Having a task to set your mind on can also benefit your mental health. You’re less likely to have time to stress when busy and focused on doing something. Too much free time can result in wandering thoughts, allowing you to dwell on the negatives. However, if you’re focusing on the task at hand, you can tune out the opposite.

Some art forms let your mind roam because they don’t always require much concentration, like painting, sewing, or knitting. Some people refer to this as operating on ‘autopilot.’ You zone out, lost in thought, while your hands work for you. If you like these kinds of crafts, controlling your thoughts to focus on the positives during these ‘mindless’ moments is important. You might listen to uplifting music or an audiobook, recite positive affirmations, or talk to a friend on the phone.

Becomes an Outlet

For many people, art can be a way to express yourself. Through paintings and poetry, you can express your hidden feelings. You can connect your emotions through movement and music by dancing and singing. Crafts in which you create pieces, like jewelry or clothing, can help reflect your personality. And while doing all this, you’re channeling your energy into something positive and productive.

Sitting around and not doing anything will only worsen a mental slump. This gives your mind too much time to stew on the negative aspects of your life. However, focusing your energy on something good and productive makes you more likely to feel uplifted. A sense of accomplishment and pride in your work can go a long way.

Additionally, when you’re feeling upset, having an outlet to express these emotions positively can provide relief. Experiencing anger or sadness can lead to speaking or acting irrationally. However, when channeling these feelings into something productive, like drawing, you can use your creativity to represent your feelings. Think of it like next-level journaling.

Creates a Sense of Community

Another way art can improve your mental health is through the safe space it creates. It’s not only something to look forward to at the end of the day, but it can also open doors to new friendships. This is because many types of art have very supportive and accepting communities. Finding people with common interests relating to certain art is easy, whether in person or online.

Art classes provide easy access to a community. Not only will you learn and develop skills in your preferred art form, but you can also make friends. You can grow in your craft together and make lasting connections.

Explore Your Creativity

Maybe you haven’t given much thought to picking up a hobby or haven’t made the time necessary to do so. When it comes to your mental health, however, you should be making anything related to it a priority. And yes, that includes time to be artsy and creative.

Let yourself try new hobbies, pick up old interests, and play around with different kinds of art. You’ll never know what you might enjoy. Find what speaks to you, and let your emotions find an outlet.