Think of any movie you’re ever seen in which the main characters are exploring a city. They inevitably end up walking down a street or through a park and passing dozens of musicians, painters, portrait artists, and dancers, people who spend hours, whether as a living or for fun, performing and creating. These people who dedicate their lives to art are obviously passionate about their crafts, but you don’t have to be a die-hard artist or art lover to reap the benefits. Doodling on paper or smudging paint on a canvas or fiddling around with an instrument may seem like a waste of time to some people, but the mental and physical benefits of engaging in the creation of art, regardless of talent, skill level, or ability, cannot be ignored.
Stress Relief and Emotional Expression
Creating art is an easy way to give your mind a break from the stresses of everyday life. By throwing yourself into the task at hand – whether it be capturing the colors of a sunset, molding a lump of clay into an owl-shaped bowl, or rehearsing the second verse of a song – you allow your mind to focus on what you’re doing and nothing else. You stop worrying about work. You stop overthinking the conversation you had on the phone with your mother. You stop obsessing over the dirty dishes that have been sitting in the sink for three days. Escaping your problems for a few minutes or an hour clears your mind and breaks the monotonous, circular thinking that leads to stress and anxiety.
Activities like painting, drawing, singing, dancing, or sculpting behave as physical and creative outlets that allow artists to work through their emotions is a tangible way. For people who have trouble vocalizing their joy, anger, anxiety, or sadness, the creation of art acts as a conduit through which they can connect with others.
Improve Motor and Cognitive Skills
Participation in the arts is an easy way to develop your mental and physical dexterity. Picking up and cultivating an art form, acquiring new skills, challenges your brain and body. Repeated challenging of the brain creates new neural pathways that can drastically improve the way you think and behave. Challenging your body with new motions can fight off joint pain or stiffness caused by disuse and can strengthen muscles to improve mobility.
Foster Social Skills and Self-esteem
Participation in the arts creates a sense of community among artists and art lovers. Taking an art class, whether you’re a novice or an artist looking to expand your repertoire, encourages bonding and the formation of relationships. You can find praise, validation, and constructive criticism from peers and offer the same in return, thus boosting confidence in your technical abilities and in your ability to contribute something valuable to someone else.
Health Life – Jan-Feb 2017
Benefits of Art
Written by: Anna Limoges