How the Arts Can Help to Promote Good Mental Health

How the Arts Can Help to Promote Good Mental Health
Yareah Magazine

Street Painter. Photo by Michael Drummond

How the Arts Can Help to Promote Good Mental Health.

Nowadays, many people do not take the time to simply switch off: the ability to escape the worries and strains of modern life, and immerse oneself in an activity that they enjoy. Relaxation should play as big an aspect in people’s lives as work does, and the embracing the arts can be a great way to unwind. Lots of people read in their spare time, novels, poetry, non-fiction – there’s infinite possibilities and a genre to suit any interest. Finding an activity that interests you, a hobby, is important, especially during stressful or troubling times. Learning to appreciate the good things in life can make the world seem a happier, brighter and more hospitable place to live, shattering the bleak realities that many of us fall into from time to time. Channeling your inner creativity is a great way to promote mental tranquility and inner happiness – everyone should search for an art form that they enjoy and actively participate in it, from painting, reading, writing, music and crafts.

Creative arts can ease symptoms of stress and depression.

Many people will go through periods of ‘feeling down’, and usually, these will pass naturally on their own accord. However, issues arise when people feel that these symptoms will not pass, and that they are perhaps on a downwards spiral, which can lead to a variety of problems, including the potential for alcohol and substance addiction, in extreme scenarios. Stress and depression are troublesome, because they can make people feel like they are merely ‘going through the motions’ of everyday life, or even lose all motivation to perform their daily tasks all together. In this environment, it can then be very hard for someone to feel like they want to pursue a new artistic endeavor. This is a shame, as art therapy has been proven to be a great outlet to boost the moods of cancer patients, during their most troubling times. Clearly then, artistic activities are useful in such situations, where it is necessary for a person to give their mind time to recuperate. This downtime is essential, as it offers periods of reflection that might not of been previously possible. Art gives people the ability to portray their emotions in what they are drawing, painting or writing. Novels offer excellent escapism, allowing the reader to empathize with characters, which may give them the spark and motivation that they were lacking. In general, the successes of art therapy, and the creative outlets that having an artistic hobby allow, can grant the individual a sense of self worth and achievement, which is essential for raising spirits, so much so, that many individuals have taken to art in conjunction with the more traditional form of substance abuse rehabilitation, as they believe it grants them strength and happiness during a very turbulent period of their life.

Art is a personal experience.

For those people who feel that they lack any artistic skills, they should rest assured that this does not matter. Art is a personal experience, and grants satisfaction to different people in different ways. For example, if someone takes up drawing because they find it soothes their stressful lifestyle, these artistic creations do not ever have to be shown to anyone. They can remain personal, with the creator being granted self satisfaction. Yet, at the same time, art can be a communal and social experience. Art galleries are a great place to visit. They are therapeutic places, with multitudes of people passing through their doors every single day. These people are not all practicing artists – the majority of them have probably never thought of personally painting, drawing or sculpting, but they still appreciate the art form in itself, for the love of the arts and the happiness such a thing gives them.

Clearly then, it does not matter what an individual thinks of their artistic integrity, the simple act of participation is enough. Jotting down a few lines of verse, or quickly sketching something that catches your eye, still counts as being artistic, and still offers that brief moment of escapism. Overall, art can relax, and it can heal, and it is so diverse and comes in a bewildering amount of forms, that there is something that everyone can be interested in and benefit from.

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  • For some reason, Yareah has always said: Art is our religion.

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