We have all heard the term ‘art therapy,’ but are you aware that the creative process of being artistic is actually very beneficial to the human psyche? Art has a number of benefits to mental health, hand eye coordination, helping the right and left brain work together and releasing endorphins. The creative part of the brain is a major faculty that was intended to be used regularly, and the visual arts are particularly good for personal expression. In fact, art therapy is so effective that it is a regular part of treatment in many rehabilitation centers to help treat addiction and mental disorder.
Art creation has been found to have healing qualities and can be very useful in treating addictions and mental disorders. This is because art creation is a healthy, intrinsic activity for people to engage in. People are intelligent, thoughtful beings that have seemingly been creating art since their beginning. Language is limited in its ability to express the depths of the soul, and creative endeavors such as art and music fill in where language falls short. Art creation is very useful for having personal revelations, being cathartic, reflecting on the self and for expression.
When a person is struggling with addiction or mental illness, one of their biggest challenges is to sort through their behavior cognitively. Being objective about one’s self is very difficult, and understanding one’s own behavior can be very psychologically complex. That is why many people struggling with addiction and mental illness seek the professional help of an addiction counselor, a psychologist or another mental health professional. Coming to understand your own behavior and then correct it is done partly through the advice of a mental health expert and partly through your own self reflection. One of the best ways of freely exploring your own psyche is through art creation as it opens the mind and allows for the free flow of ideas.
Common types of therapeutic art creation include collage, drawing, painting and photography. Collage can be very useful for those who are visually driven. What they cannot express in words, they can express by finding images that other people created and laying them out in a way that makes sense to them and captures their own original idea. Drawing and painting are two very old artistic mediums that people have been utilizing for centuries. Whether someone is replicating something they see in life or creating from their imagination, drawing and painting will prove to be very therapeutic. Photography is a great artistic medium for those who enjoy interacting with the world, be it the natural world or the man-made world.
There is a reason people continue to create art even when they discover that there is usually no money in it. The creative capacity that exists within human beings is essential to our existence. It is arguable that our creative abilities are even divine. It is widely believed that humans are a result of a divine being’s creative process, which was instilled into us. Creative projects are more than just fun, they are a high-calling.
When it comes to creative projects in the visual arts spectrum, the therapeutic possibilities are endless. What we typically think of as art is an aesthetic arrangement of materials that impact the viewing audience by carrying meaning. Arriving at the destination of meaningful art is consistently a meaningful process. This meaningful process of journeying to fulfill an artistic vision is the part that is most important to people. The creative journey requires introspection, examination, integrity, self-awareness and connection to one’s emotions. Going through this process does a great deal of good for a person’s mental health. Because most of us are exposed to visual arts projects at a very young age, many of these abilities are inherent.
The way that visual arts projects can help people through difficult life circumstances is very unique and beneficial. Creative projects are to difficult emotions what lubrication is to an old bike. They get the gears moving and working. When someone experiences the loss of a loved one, a divorce, being laid off or any other circumstance that causes grief and stress, getting out the art supplies can be the best way of healing. Any creative process will ignite the same faculty that processes major life changes, but the visual arts in particular are very good for high emotions. Sometimes our personal emotions are too big to express logically, and incorporating the use of color or sound is a more effective way of expressing meaning.
Working on a visual art project can also help alleviate disorders, addictions and substance abuse. Other than the mental health benefits described above, the visual arts can also be very useful for connecting with areas of the brain that have not been tapped into for a time. Coloring or doing arts and crafts is known to be one of the best ways of channeling your inner child, when can help you make huge strides in defeating a mental hardship.