Art can be used as a creative and enjoyable way to express oneself by utilising materials such as acrylic paint, water colours, coloured pencils, photography, clay, collage, and markers. In addition, aside from being able to express ourselves, art has shown to have numerous benefits on a person's emotional and mental wellbeing. As such, art is often used as a form of therapy to help treat mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addictions. Although, there are numerous benefits to Art Therapy, this article will specifically focus on four ways that Art Therapy can help to boost our well-being and mood.
- 1.Help to Improve Communication
When living with a mental health condition, verbally communicating how we feel can often be difficult. Therefore, creative expression can be a useful way for an individual to express and communicate their thoughts, feelings, fears, and beliefs. Art can also be used as a way to gain a new perspective on an old situation.
- 2.Reduce Depressive Symptoms
Art Therapy has shown to reduce symptoms of depression by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical linked to feeling happy. When we engage in creative expression, dopamine is released which helps to increase mood, thus reducing depressive feelings. In addition, when dopamine is released, we can feel more positive and eager to pursue our goals.
- 3.Help to Manage Stress
When we are feeling worried, it can be often difficult to switch our brain off and relax. However, art can provide a healthy and positive distraction from ruminating. Furthermore, even if you are feeling stressed, these worries and thoughts can be conveyed into your art work. Thus, art can provide a healthy and productive way of dealing with negative thoughts and channelling bad energy into something positive.
- 4.Improving Self-Esteem
Art provides us the ability to create and be creative, which can provide us purpose and meaning into our lives. In addition, art is not about skill or talent, but rather enjoying the process and learning to let go of those critical and judgemental thoughts about ourselves. Therefore, being creative can be good for the soul and teach us many skills such as self-acceptance and self-compassion, which can contribute to improving our self-esteem.
If you are interested in getting creative and giving Art a go, Skylight Mental Health offers Art Classes which provides a great way to express yourself and also meet new people! To learn more or to register your interest please visit https://www.skylight.org.au/our-services/active-social?start=5 or phone (08) 8378 4100