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Using art and creativity to boost your mental health
Many of us pursue artistic or creative activities because we enjoy them, intuitively feeling that it’s beneficial for us. This intuition is correct as art and creativity can have significant benefits for our mental health. This includes writing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting or other forms of creative expression.
Painting, drawing or moulding objects from clay has the potential to help people deal with trauma. Art helps us express experiences that are too difficult to put into words, such as a diagnosis of cancer or the maintenance or reconstruction of our identity.
Art therapy for mental health
The benefits of creativity for mental health has led to the idea of art therapy. Any application of the visual arts in a therapeutic context can be considered art therapy. This means you don’t necessarily have to see a therapist to benefit from therapeutic artistic expression so long as you are finding relief in the creative expression of your choice.
Benefits of art therapy
Art therapy can be used to provide a range of benefits including:
- Offering an outlet for emotional release where you can express and let go of your feelings and fears. Making art can help you process emotions like anger and sadness which you might be unable to express yourself.
- Improving your self-esteem by providing a sense of accomplishment.
- Helping you discover and process feelings that may have been lurking in your subconscious or are difficult to express.
- Offering stress relief through a relaxing and enjoyable activity, which is beneficial for helping to manage anxiety, depression and emotional trauma.
- Creating art can also stimulate the release of dopamine. You don’t need to be a talented artist to benefit, just ensure you keep an open and honest mind.
Expressive writing can also help people overcome trauma and manage negative emotions. Asking people to write about positive experiences and about their “best self” can also be associated with an increased sense of psychological well-being.
Creativity can also be a physical endeavour, as in the case with dance. This mobility brings additional benefits. The mental health benefits of physical exercise are well-documented as it can release endorphins, serotonin and other natural brain chemicals that can help make you feel good.
Blog post written by Pinnacle Health Group. Visit their website: https://pinnaclehealthgroup.com.au/.
This blog post provides general information only. It is not intended to provide health or medical advice and is not a substitute for seeking professional advice about your health or medical needs.
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