Mental Health Benefits of Art are for Everyone.

Creating art is a very effective way to stimulate the brain and any person can do it. Learn the benefits of art and why it’s so very helpful for mental health.
Pablo Picasso once said “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

There is a lot of misconception about art. Some believe you have to be creating paintings or sculptures to be considered a real artist. Others believe that you are either born with talent — or not.

Many are afraid that since they aren’t very good at something, there is no point and they won’t get any benefit from doing it.

Another myth is that you have to work with an art therapist to get any therapeutic benefit from doing art. But we are all born with an innate desire to express ourselves and art encompasses a wider range of activities than you may have ever imagined.

Here are some of the best ways creative expression can benefit your brain and mental health to make you a happier, healthier person.

Art Creation to Relieve Stress

Activities like painting, sculpting, drawing, and photography are relaxing and rewarding hobbies that can lower your stress levels and leave you feeling mentally clear and calm. (1)

Creating art provides a distraction, giving your brain a break from your usual thoughts. The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day and 95% of them are exactly the same day in, day out! When you get totally immersed in a creative endeavor, you may find yourself in what’s known as “the zone” or in a state of “flow.” This meditative-like state focuses your mind and temporarily pushes aside all your worries.

Leonardo da Vinci said, “Painting embraces all the ten functions of the eye; that is to say, darkness, light, body and color, shape and location, distance and closeness, motion and rest.” Creating art trains you to concentrate on details and pay more attention to your environment. In this way, it acts like meditation. A popular art trend for stress relief is Paint-By-Numbers.

This idea was first popularized in France, a country that’s number one in per capita consumption of antidepressants, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills.(2) Some coloring books and “Paint by Number” canvases were created with stress relief in mind and have become an acceptable adult form of artistic expression.

Many art therapists are supportive of the movement and would like to see coloring become a gateway to reach those who could benefit from art therapy. So far, this has worked to gently transition veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) into art therapy. (3)
1. Bell, Chloe E.; Robbins, Steven J. (2007). Effect of Art Production on Negative Mood: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, v24 (2), 71-75. Peterson, C. A primer in positive psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2006. Van der Vennet, R.; Serice, S. (2012). Can Coloring Mandalas Reduce Anxiety? A Replication Study. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, Vol 29(2), 87-92.

2:‘Unhinged’ French on cocktail of pills, claims new book
http://www.telegraph.co.uk

3. Coloring books and welding help vets cope with PTSD
http://www.seattleglobalist.com
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