Sitting at a desk, putting my paintbrush to the paper, I feel the worries and stress of my day melting away, like a flame burns paper to ash. A steady lo-fi beat plays in the background while I work. With my hands, I can create anything. I just need to put my mind and hands to work, and have a beautiful art piece right in my hands. The effect doing art can have on a person is immense.
The world is a hectic place, especially with everything happening lately. The stress being put on so many people worldwide due to the fast-paced progression of events and issues in the past months is massive. Even on a regular basis, if all this craziness such as the pandemic wasn’t going on right now, everyday life can still be stressful and overwhelming. Especially to those struggling from mental health issues, which is about half of the global population, and the current world issues definitely aren’t helping with that. Creating art gives one the chance to unwind, and even a chance to let out their emotions. I, personally, utilize art to express my emotions, whether the art ends up being a detailed and intricate visual of a person or an abstract mess. Art therapy especially helps, because the focus is on the process of creating the piece, rather than the end product.
There are many mental health benefits of art, specifically art therapy. Some of them include improved self-esteem, ability to manage behaviors and process feelings, as well as reduce stress and anxiety. The healthy emotional outlet and thought process allows one to realize thoughts that were repressed or not so clear, gives a feeling of self-accomplishment and confidence, and provides a way to get out anything. Art is a great way to express oneself without having to use words.
Art gives a healthy way to improve one’s state and make them feel good. Mindfulness, or being aware of your state of being as well as your mental state. Using it with visual arts has been found to activate different parts of the brain allowing more creative and flowing thinking.
The best part about art therapy as a coping mechanism is that it doesn’t require artistic talent. A lot of artists, even including myself, focus so much on the final product and making sure that it looks good, that they forget the enjoyment in the simple process of creating art. The feeling of putting a brush to canvas, a pen to paper, etc. is found to be a very calming and relieving feeling. A lot of people, however, are so concerned with how it looks, that art can stress them out and even cause art block, or long periods of unwillingness and lack of motivation to create art. People who create need to focus more on the creation part than the finished piece.
Art brings many benefits to one’s mental health that may not be found elsewhere due to it’s mind creative and mind-opening nature. Mr. Knepper – or Coach Knepper, who teaches drawing and painting says, “The process being how you research, brainstorm, compose, plan, manipulate, allowing your mind to wander freely from the reality of pandemic life.” He adds, “The result, a product that once finished, takes your mind and your eyes on a visual journey each time you see it.”