Art and the Mental Health

The Relationship Between Creating Art and the Mental Health

Finding that activity or hobby that just clicks with you and brings you to a state of peace is something that is so valuable in life. Sometimes it may take some trial and error to discover what meshes well with your unique self and lifestyle, but once you do come across that one pursuit that really connects with you, beautiful things can start to happen and the mental health is given the opportunity to truly flourish. Some people find solace while doing things like playing music, writing poetry, or going hiking. One medium that is favored by many is the act of creating art – whether that is in the form of drawing, sculpting, or painting. Maybe you haven’t really tried your hand at painting since you were a kid in school, but the great news is that you can pick it back up right now if you wish and whenever inspiration hits and just have fun with it! Let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the reasons why creating physical art can significantly benefit the mental health.


Teaches You to Enjoy the Process

How often throughout the day do we feel stuck while doing a certain thing and intensely focusing on when we are going to be done with it so we can move onto the next activity on our to-do list? It’s not uncommon for this to happen, to already be thinking ahead and resisting the current moment. With art, you are working to create something so you can appreciate the final outcome, but the process and journey should not be overlooked – it should be fully celebrated. Whether you pick up the paintbrush often or are just diving into this realm, there are surely times that you feel discouraged and frustrated with how your piece is turning out and you just wish for it to be over and done with. Instead, try to dive into the process and focus on what each step can reveal to you and teach you as you work on your creation. Practicing this can help you carry this mindset into your everyday life, showing you how to accept instead of resisting the process.


Helps You See Things in a Different Perspective

It becomes so easy to get accustomed to our daily routines and to zero in on specifics and the only reality that we are aware of. We get so caught up in what our mind chooses to focus on, and this can go on for days or even weeks without even realizing what we might have missed. When engaging in the process of creating art, you are often forced to think outside the box and to see things from an altered perspective so that you end up with the final result that you desire. Looking at your work through a new lens is fantastic practice for applying such in your daily life, helping you to be more empathetic, aware, and diverse in your problem-solving skills when it is necessary.


Allows for Complete Presence

With how busy our lives can be, it is not difficult to get wrapped up in everything and to forget to be fully present and to live in the moment. One of the many superb aspects about art is the fact that it can be a time of utter peace, relaxation, and a time to zone into the present moment. So much is always happening throughout the day, to the point where we have to remind ourselves to be present and to stop living inside of our minds. There is no correct or incorrect way to create art, but it is truly the ideal time to relax and just be at one with what you are doing and creating. This point relates heavily to the first one regarding enjoying the process, because when you do so, you live within the present moment more fully which results in an overall greater sense of appreciation and mindfulness in every other area of your life.


Great Means of Expression

Sometimes, we do not fully realize just how much we need to have a wonderful medium for expressing ourselves – the emotions, the thoughts, and the concepts that roll into our minds in a given day. These thoughts and feelings can begin to bog us down if they are not conveyed in a manner that feels useful to us. Picking up a pencil or a paintbrush might be just the thing that has been missing and the means that can assist you in feeling as if you are finally able to adequately express yourself. It’s important as humans to have an accessible means of expression – we are innately creative beings that have been making art since the beginning of our time on this planet, after all. If talking it out or writing down your feelings and what’s on your mind does not exactly suit you, drawing, sculpting, or painting can be the perfect aid when it comes to articulating what you wish. No matter if you are happy, angry, sad, or somewhere in between – there are no rules with art, and you can simply do whatever feels right to you.


If you have never given a form of art such as painting a chance before, you can invest in some basic and affordable materials to test the water and see how it makes you feel. Alternatively, you can visit a studio and take a class if you would rather have some direction at first. There may be frustrations if there are mistakes along the way, but as the infamous artist Bob Ross always said, there are no such things as mistakes, just happy accidents. Allow the happy accidents to occur and enjoy the journey, and you will surely learn a thing or two about yourself and your chosen form of artistic expression along the way.


Getting Help

If you are looking to improve your mental health and wellness, we are ready to help on that journey. We have a team of psychiatrists, therapists and psychologists that specialize in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication management. Our team of compassionate and skilled professionals is available for in person appointments for patients in the DFW area. We also offer online appointments for patients in the Austin, DFW, Houston and San Antonio areas.

Dr. Michael Messina

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