Art has the power to influence our emotions and well-being drastically. It allows everyone, young and old, to express themselves creatively and encourages imaginative thinking.
There is no wrong answer in art. The way you choose to express yourself can span multiple mediums like painting, woodworking, or printmaking and can look different for everyone. You don’t even have to be any good to enjoy the positive impact that art brings to your mind and body, you just have to be open to the idea of trying.
How art affects us
Art gives us emotional and cognitive health benefits that can help us process feelings, manage stress and anxiety, and increase self-awareness. Creating art gives us a sense of accomplishment and can boost our self-esteem. It relieves stress and gives us a productive distraction from everyday life.
Creating art can also serve as a pain management technique, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Art therapy lowers the perception of pain by shifting mental focus from the cause of that pain. A studydone in 2018 observed nearly 200 patients hospitalized for surgery or a medical issue. The study found that those who participated in art therapy for an average of 50 minutes reported significantly improved moods and lower levels of anxiety and pain.
Participating in creative activities can slow cognitive decline and enhance brain function by impacting emotions, brain wave patterns, and the nervous system. Painting and drawing have even been shown to stimulate memories in people with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The power of art isn’t just experienced through active participation, but through viewing, too.
Simply looking at art increases blood flow to the brain by 10%. This means the act of looking at something beautiful makes your brain work harder and improves function. You can also enhance your analytical and problem-solving skills by consciously viewing art, meaning taking a closer look. The longer you look and think about the meaning behind the art, the more work your brain puts in to uncover conscious and unconscious brain functions.
How you can benefit from art
There are many forms of art that are readily available to us. Gaining the benefits that art has to offer can be as simple as doodling on a nearby piece of paper or going for a walk in your city and searching for artistic installations or wall art. Here are a few other ways to begin your artistic journey:
1. Visit a local art museum or gallery
2. Get a coloring/sketch book
3. Find art online and follow local artists you like
4. Gather friends or family to create art together