7th June 2019

Art Therapy: How Creativity Can Cure

Struggling with anxiety and/or depression? You’re not alone.

Studies everywhere show that millennials are really suffering with mental health issues.

This is thought to be caused by the stresses of the online world and modern life.

You can find posts all over the internet with tips on how to handle this, from meditation to cutting out alcohol.

However, one thing that keeps reoccurring is the benefit of arts in resetting the mind and releasing negative energy coming from stress and low mood.

The evidence

In early 2018 the institute ‘What Works Wellbeing’ released a study showing the effects of creative outlets, including both practicing and viewing art, on mental wellbeing.

The report showed that both depression and anxiety levels were lowered, whilst individuals showed an increase in self-esteem and self-worth.

These dramatic personal changes were also paired with the participants feeling newly engaged with the outside world.

A common symptom of depression and anxiety, is a feeling of disinterest and despondency, so to see art alleviating this is hugely significant.

What works? 

The well known charity ‘Mind‘ breaks Art Therapy into four major categories: dance, drama, music and visual arts.

People involved in these groups, as well as those who partake in these activities in their own time, have said that being creative allows them to quieten their thoughts and switch off from daily stresses.

It seems like the key thing is to repeat the experience and ensure you engage regularly with your chosen art form.

Using art as a therapy provides an alternative for those who have had bad experiences or who aren’t quite ready for traditional therapy methods.

Getting started

Creativity can be found anywhere.

Visiting a gallery and learning about Art History can be a first step in starting your artistic journey.

Looking at the art of others can give you more of an idea on what kind of art you’d like to create yourself.

Another up-side of this is that most galleries have a free display or two, meaning that there won’t be a huge expense.

If you’re more interested in performance arts, why not visit a local theatre?

Next steps

Once you’ve figured out which route you want to go down, it may be worth looking at what art groups are around in your community.

Often you can find creative classes in your local area at a reasonable price.

For the more tricky options, like life drawing, embroidery, or sculpture making, it may be worth enlisting the help of a professional in the early stages.

This is also a great way to trial run your choice, as you may find after a class that you’d prefer to try something else instead.

Another benefit is that classes often provide materials included in the cost, so you don’t need to fork out unnecessarily.

Practice makes perfect

Like any skill, practice is key.

The trick is to not be put off if you don’t create a masterpiece on your first go, or if your anxiety hasn’t entirely dissipated after the first hour.

With time and patience, art can really heal, it’s in the numbers!

 

By Charlotte Ellis