The mental health benefits of making art

Seasonal changes can be difficult for many people. While days are growing longer and spring is just around the corner, some struggle with variations in their schedule. It is important during this time to take care of our mental health. Making art can be a great way to battle the blues! Pick up your paintbrush and let the creativity flow through you.


A hand reaches out to paint a canvas covered in green, yellow, blue, and pink paint.

According to Resources to Recover, making art can be beneficial for self-discovery, self-esteem, emotional release and stress relief.


Self-Discovery


Making art, or even just marking the paper, can help unlock mental blocks and help you get to the root of the problem. Self-discovery is the process of sorting out your thoughts and feelings and learning more about yourself. Sometimes when we get busy with work, school or life in general, we can lose ourselves a little. Maybe you are working on a big project, or you have been studying for an exam. We all feel stressed sometimes. Mindless creation can help you identify some feelings you have and give you the chance to sort through them.


Self-Esteem


It doesn’t have to be the Mona Lisa. You might feel more confident because you were able to make anything at all! You stopped doom-scrolling for a second and actually made something! Way to go! If you continue to practice, you might see that you actually improve and this could help boost your self-confidence. Noticing growth in yourself in something like making art might help you transfer some confidence to the rest of your life.


Emotional Release


You don’t have to talk about your feelings. Maybe that’s too much. Making something physical can help you work through things subconsciously while distracting your mind with what your hands are doing. Doodling in stressful or menial situations can help you stay present in the moment without necessarily forcing you to think about what is happening. Similarly, automatic art creation (making and adding to art without any planning or thinking beforehand or during the process) can allow some physical release of emotions, and maybe you’ll be able to step back at the end and sort out some of those thoughts and feelings. Alternatively, creating sculpture or building with your hands can help bring internal thoughts to a physical form (which might also be really satisfying to destroy if that’s what you need).


Stress Relief


Turn on some soothing music and make something! You can take your time; feel how the clay moves in your hands or listen to the graphite scratch the paper. There’s no pressure. The only goal is relaxation. Some people choose to work in colouring books or draw mandalas because the repetitive action and predictable outcome are comforting. Making art when you are stressed can be a really great way to rest without feeling like you are being lazy or ignoring responsibilities. You are still doing something but also taking some time to relax and calm your body and mind.


Making art is a great way to get out of a funk. It also can be an effective therapy method for more serious mental health issues like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, PTSD and others in accordance with a mental health professional. Art is a great method to control what you’re doing and allow yourself to make something that is totally yours. Whether you’re trying to shake off a crummy day or shake yourself out of it, try making art! You might just find that it does the trick.


If you or someone you know is interested in formal art therapy, please check out the following resource: taishatealarttherapy.com



By Kate Long