Tapping into the therapeutic benefits of art
According to Pablo Picasso, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Whether your “dust of daily life” is comprised of anxiety, stress or even depression, art can play a significant role in healing. Sure, picking up a paint brush or a new craft may feel a little intimidating, but there’s no better time than the present to fill up your emotional, physical and spiritual tank with art’s incredibly therapeutic powers. Remember, art isn’t limited to painting masterpieces with oils or watercolors. Knitting, woodworking, sewing, sculpting, scrapbooking and photography are just a few examples of creative activities that can help you lead a happier, healthier life.
An emotional outlet.
Artists are known to express their true emotions with every sketch and stroke – joy, anger, fear and triumph. Applying these authentic feelings to canvas (or paper, or anything, really) unloads and transfers those inner thoughts from mind to medium, resulting in a truly transformative and healing experience. When you’re faced with feelings that are hard to discern, turning to art can help you work through your thoughts and reactions.
Studies have shown that art is good for the physical body as well. When you’re focused on creating something, you temporarily take your mind off daily stress triggers. This, in turn, can help lower your blood pressure and pulse rate, putting you in a naturally meditative state as you engage in your activity. And because all this means you’re likely feeling more relaxed, you can count on increased energy and an enhanced general sense of happiness.
A boost of brain power.
Art helps keep your brain active, preserving cognitive function well into your twilight years. Studies have shown that engaging in purposeful, meaningful activities like drawing and crafting can stimulate the neurological system, resulting in new brain synapses and even increased intelligence.
Sold on the concept of art’s incredible benefits? We thought so. Here are some ideas to help you start incorporating art into your everyday routine – and keep it going.
Create a designated “art zone.”
Even if your space is limited, devote a small corner of your home to your craft. Keep your supplies organized in bins or baskets for easy access.
Look into community art groups – or start your own.
We’ve all heard of book clubs, but how about art clubs? Gather a few friends to join you in a weekly or monthly group that encourages the creation of art. Sharing your progress and presenting your finished work in a group setting is fun, motivating and evokes feelings of pride and accomplishment!
Join the adult coloring book trend.
These are popular for a reason – they’re fun, easy and portable. Grab a few to keep on hand when you’re stuck in waiting rooms at the dentist or doctor’s office.
Create a vision board or journal.
Stay inspired by collecting images that make you feel happy and energized, whether they are photos of people, places or things. Add to your board or journal on a daily or weekly basis and look back on your work to stay inspired year-round.
Think Picasso was right? Channel your inner artist by embracing an activity that benefits your mind, body and soul. You might be surprised to find how easy and truly fulfilling art can be.