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Mental Health Benefits of Art Therapy

Art therapy includes the application of visual arts and creating artwork in a therapeutic context. Its purpose is to help people struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, dementia, attention disorders, trauma, and a variety of other problems. It focuses on creating artwork as a way of communicating with others, instead of using words. In most cases, it is used when people have troubles expressing themselves verbally, and rather choose a non-verbal way to establish communication with people around them. Some of the forms of creative expression include painting, drawing, collaging, sculpting, and taking photographs, and each of them has a positive impact on our mental health.

Art Provides Stress Relief

Art therapy is a perfect solution for people who are under a lot of stress on a regular basis. Some people are better at handling stress than others. Those who have troubles dealing with it should engage in activities that provide relief. It is not easy to deal with high levels of stress on a daily basis, and if it lasts for a prolonged period, it can have an adverse impact on our body and mind. Luckily, an artistic approach can help people with this problem. Different activities, including painting, drawing, and sculpting, are relaxing and very helpful when it comes to taking our minds off worries for a while. They provide a distraction for our brains and help us get a break from usual ways of thinking. Engaging in one of the art therapy activities is an excellent way to lower the overall stress levels, and therefore, it has a positive influence on the person’s mental health.

Art Encourages Creative Thinking

Another benefit of art is that it can teach us how to develop a creative approach to different challenges that await us in life. There is no correct answer when it comes to art, as opposed to math, and people have the opportunity to come up with unique solutions to any artistic problems. That way, they have a chance to learn how to cope with various challenges, and how to overcome them using only their creativity. Something like this can be quite beneficial in life, and it is an excellent method as it allows people to use both brain hemispheres during the process of creating artwork and solving problems. Creative thinking also produces different brain chemicals compared to logical reasoning, and that’s what makes it a great exercise for our brains.

Art Boosts Self-Esteem

Engaging in art therapy sessions can have a positive impact on building self-esteem. It is simple – when people create artwork, they have a sense of accomplishment and are proud of their work. Each area of art requires a specific talent or skill, and when people practice one of them, for example, painting, they will improve their painting skills significantly over time. As the time goes by, the quality of their artwork will increase, which will result in the self-esteem boost and the increased sense of accomplishment. Creating artistic pieces will provide satisfaction with the artist’s ability to express his or her own vision.

Art Increases Empathy

Another mental health benefit of art therapy is that it increases empathy. When a person views art, no matter if it is his or her own work, or someone else’s, emotions are registered in the brain, and it results in the production of brain chemicals. The release of these chemicals increases the feelings of empathy and love for others. It also helps us get a better understanding of the feelings and emotions of the person who created the artwork. Something like this not only strengthens our connections to other people, but it also improves our mental health.