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How Wellness Connects to Art Therapy

Written by: Eden A

Edited by: Shania Sheth


Hello everyone! The second article in our Arts in Medicine series is by Eden, which showcases how wellness can be achieved using art therapy. Hope you enjoy this article!

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Art therapy is a technique that highlights the notion of creative expression and its ability to foster healing and mental wellbeing. Doctors note that those who are living with mental illnesses often express themselves in drawing and other types of artworks. Since then, art has become an important part of art therapy and is now used in different treatment strategies for patients. The goal for art therapy is to utilize the creative process in the mind and heart to help people explore more about themselves, in addition to finding new coping skills that will help create artwork while achieving mindfulness. Some situations where art therapy has been used were for adults experiencing severe stress, children experiencing behavioral or social problems at school or home, as well as youth and adults experiencing traumatic events and other mental health problems.



Art therapy can help treat many mental disorders and psychological distress. It can be combined with other psychotherapies like group therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).



Research shows a relationship between art and mental health. In neuroscience, there are new forms of evidence for the interaction between art and the brain, mentioning that creating art reduces cortisol levels and can induce positive mental health states. Neuroaesthetics use brain imaging to gather specific evidence of how we as humans respond to the arts. Through that, there is scientific evidence that the arts engage, and it taps into our emotions in a way that makes us feel good and better about ourselves.



Creating art can allow us to be mindful and pay attention to the present moment. It allows us to work on creative projects that help our brain and bodies feel better and shows us a lot of beauty in the work we create, and that raises self-esteem and produces a hormone called dopamine. Art can be created by anyone at any age and using any body part.



More benefits of art therapy are that it can help with problem solving! When you sit down, it gives you time to think of the type of art you want to do, how you want to represent the work, etc. Art therapy also can help you with fine motor skills. Research found that kids who learn an instrument find it easier to learn languages, read and do other activities. Last, art therapy can also help cope with difficult emotions. Sometimes, it can be difficult to acknowledge and name how you are feeling, but art therapy can help share your feelings in a way of art and creativity, as it helps you express and release emotions afterwards.



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Thanks for reading the second article in our Arts in Medicine series! We hope you learned about how art can serve as a stress reliever for many people, and how being creative with different art forms can allow for increased wellbeing.


If you enjoyed this article, check out the first article in our Arts in Medicine series, Music and the Mind by Mahee Mishra.


Until next time,

Eden and the Writing Committee :)





Sources:


Cherry, K. (n.d.). How art therapy works. Verywell Mind. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-art-therapy-2795755


Brittany Harker Martin Associate Professor. (2022, January 23). Brain research shows the Arts Promote Mental Health. The Conversation. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from https://theconversation.com/brain-research-shows-the-arts-promote-mental-health-136668


Sarah FarmerWRAP Associate at Advocates for Human Potential. (2022, March 16). Five ways art can connect US to wellness. Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from https://www.wellnessrecoveryactionplan.com/five-ways-art-can-connect-us-to-wellness/


Briality.com. (n.d.). Retrieved July 4, 2022, from https://www.briality.com/art-therapy-improve-wellbeing/


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