Art Therapy and Chronic Disease
There are a lot of articles on the web around the subject of creativity and health. When I searched on the phrase ‘health benefits of art therapy’ almost 5 million results came up.
In the article The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature, the authors suggest participating in creative activities help alleviate the burden of chronic disease. This is achieved by reducing stress and depression which are common in the chronic disease community. Furthermore, it is highlighted that since recorded history began, the use of singing, dancing and pictures have been used as healing rituals.
Get Brain Fit
Overwhelmingly the results show that there are positive outcomes on mental and emotional health when engaging in creative pursuits. Be Brain Fit suggests that engaging in activities such as drawing, photography, singing or any other hobby you find relaxing.This is enough to lower stress levels and leave you feeling calmer.
The main idea behind taking up a hobby is that it distracts you from thinking about what may be causing you anxiety in the first place. In fact, engaging in creative activities like those mentioned previously or even wood working, gardening or any activity where there is an end result can release dopamine. This makes you feel good and has the benefit of warding off depression.
Get Colouring, Get Creative!
You may of heard of the adult colouring book craze that is going around at the moment? Neuroscientist and neuropsychologist Dr. Stan Rodski, believes it’s not the end result of the colouring that benefits adults, but the process to finish a piece that we as adults get the benefit from. Dr. Stan Rodski maintains it is the process of repetition, pattern and detail that gives adults the positive responses.
In the article written about Expressive Therapy, the author reports that creative writing such as poetry, short stories or even a novel if you have it in you, not only act as a self therapy for those with varying conditions or illnesses but also act to reduce isolation. The very fact you put yourself in the public domain, you are reaching out to others with similar issues. You are telling others that they are not alone with their daily struggles. In a way it normalises what you are all going through and helps you relate with each other.
Mark Twain once said that there was no such thing as an original idea. Essentially all ideas are a mishmash of other ideas to create a bastardised version of the old idea. If I expand this concept further; I take it that we are not alone, whatever you are going through, someone else has been through it before. Being creative and sharing the fruits of your creativity shows others that we are in this together.
Here is a short video that details other peoples experiences and the way that art therapy was used to deal with their personal situation.
Final Thoughts on Creativity and Health
Do you have a particular preference for which style of art you find most beneficial? Did it help you cope with a stressful situation? Have you tried art therapy but it didn’t help at all? If you like, please share your experiences so others can see they are not alone.