The Arts are an excellent way of keeping healthy, regardless of age and ability. Being creative increases the amount of dopamine, the ‘feel good’ chemicals in your brain. Dopamine helps you to feel more motivated, excited, focused and interested in the activities you are taking part in. The World Health Organisation has released a 2019 report detailing its’ research into the benefits of the Arts on supporting child development, care-giving, treatment of mental health issues, supporting recovery from trauma, as well as end-of-life palliative care.
A recent UK study entitled Creative Health: The Arts for Health & Well Being is worth a read for anyone in search of facts that promote and advocate for the Arts as being good for the mind and body. Scroll down to see how Art therapy helped a high school student.
Recent research on 658 young adults suggested that spending time each day being creative makes you feel more happy and more positive. Another recent 2016 study suggests that the hormone Cortisol (produced by your body when you feel stressed) is lowered in 3 out of 4 people who take part in art activities. Engaging in art activities in middle and old age can help to protect the brain, keep brain neurons developing, and perhaps reduce the early onset of dementia.
Art can also be a great therapy for people who suffer from mental health issues. It is a great way for connecting with emotions. Art often helps as a way of communicating through emotional, behavioural or mental problems. Sometimes it is easier to express our feelings through colour, shapes and textures rather than try to say them out loud.
Art therapy can be a valuable activity for autism, eating disorders, post traumatic stress, illness, depression and violence. Art therapy uses imagery as a way of starting to discuss traumatic events. People are encouraged to draw and create images which relate to traumatic life events. From there, they progress towards speaking about their difficult experiences. Sometimes the images created might come from the subconscious mind.
Watch the video below to hear how a High School student used Art to help her through a difficult period of depression…