"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Making art is a uniquely human activity, and one that gives a source of health advantages.

What involves mind once you consider the word “art”? A toddler's artwork locked within the fridge? A favourite artist whose work all the time inspires? Abstract art that is tough to grasp?

Each of them believes that making art is something that other people do, equivalent to children or “people with talent.”

However, as I explain in my book “The expressive instinct“Art is an intrinsic a part of human evolution and history. Just as sport or exercise exercises the body, art-making exercises the imagination and is important to mental and physical well-being.

I'm a Professor of Art Therapy which studies how creative self-expression affects physical and emotional health. In our clinical research studies, my colleagues and I are finding that any type of creative self-expression – including drawing, painting, fiber arts, woodworking or photography – Reduce mental stressimprove mood and increase self-esteem.

As a sick child who needed to remain home from school loads, I discovered that making art helped me cope. Today, creating art is my sanctuary. I take advantage of it as a sounding board to higher understand myself and to learn and recharge from life's challenges.

The bookmark is made with wild flowers and ink drawings, created by Grija Kemal. 'My aim here was to capture the fantastic thing about nature and the work of the human hand.'
Grija Kamil

The uniquely human attribute of creativity

While everyone has their very own concept of what defines art, one thing is universally true: creativity is a defining characteristic of the human species.

how does? Well, human brains will not be data-processing computers. They are biological prediction machines that sense the environment through memories and senses Use this information to visualize. Possible future scenarios.

These inherent predictive and imaginative abilities are the source of humanity's ability to survive and thrive – because self-expression is a security valve that helps us deal with uncertainty. No one truly knows the long run. They must live every day unsure what is going to occur tomorrow. Art may also help us all exercise this imaginative muscle in a useful way.

In our study examining brain activity using virtual reality tools to create 3-D digital artwork, my team demonstrated that Creative expression is a natural state.. The brain naturally uses fewer cognitive resources to be expressive and inventive, in comparison with Brain power is needed to do the root task. Which requires conscious effort.

Seemingly abnormal on a regular basis activities can provide opportunities to tap into one's natural creativity and imagination: cooking with leftovers, finding an alternate method to work, doing a bit dance in response to a song, or Planting and maintaining a garden.

We have repeatedly present in our studies that even a session of real and honest expression can improve self-esteem and Reduce feelings of stress, Restlessness and burning.

This is partly because Creativity activates reward pathways. Using our hands and bodies to specific ourselves within the mind prompts the dopamine pathway and helps us feel good. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter related to feeling. A sense of hope, achievement or reward. Our brains are wired to release feel-good hormones at any time when we move, create, or engage in any type of expressive activity.

Harnessing the creative resources inside is probably the most underrated seeds of well-being on the planet.

By comparison, bottling up or Denying these feelings can lead to pain., anxiety and fear because we've not processed and expressed them. Perhaps that is certainly one of the the reason why every community all over the world has its own creative and expressive ways. Even our ancestors in indigenous communities all over the world knew this intuitively. Self-expression was essential From emotional health and social connectedness.

Being unable to share our lives, keep secret And feel isolated and alone. To spoil our health. To our brains, social isolation appears like a chronic illness since it interprets this isolation and inability to specific itself as a threat to survival.

Because creative expression can engage the senses, it may possibly even be a physical exertion: a sensory in addition to an emotional and cognitive experience. Being lively in expression – whether it's art, music, dance, drama, writing, high-quality art or working with nature – creates a way of confidence and hope. Challenges can be navigated and overcome..

Hand drawn color portrait
Portrait artwork in progress.
Then come

The role of art therapy

Given the integral role of art in our lives, it is sensible that making art may also help people deal with transitions, difficulties and trauma, equivalent to the stresses of puberty, the death of a loved one or Suffering from a serious illness.

According to a world study, 1 in 2 people will experience one. Mental health challenges in their liveswhether from life challenges, genetic predispositions or a mixture of each.

This is where art therapy can are available in. Art is therapy. An organized mental health profession In which clinical psychotherapists with extensive clinical training provide psychotherapy to patients diagnosed with mental health needs.

The origins of art therapy go way back. Attempts to treat combat soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder During the 2 world wars of the twentieth century. Today there may be evidence that traumatic experiences are stored as Sounds, images and physical sensations When someone within the mind There is a lack of words In order to process these experiences through traditional talk therapy, art therapy can provide an indirect method to express and express these feelings and memories.

The act of constructing art may also help people process feelings they're unable to place into words.

One of the unique strengths of art therapy is that it provides non-verbal ways to speak, process and ultimately manage the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. In fact, in a recent study, my team found that private history of trauma is expounded. How people react to provocative images.. Images of suffering and pain resonate with us once we ourselves know the identical type of pain. This implies that our life stories sensitize us to the suffering in others and even make it more personal.

Creative self-expression is especially relevant in coping with trauma since it provides an avenue through which an individual Can regain a sense of agency. and control.

A brightly colored stem of orange and yellow flowers with green leaves sits on a notebook page with a handwritten description on the back.
The botanical note artwork was created by the 12-year-old self-taught artist as a part of a summer exercise to practice drawing and find out about different flowers from all over the world.
Then come

How to bring creativity into on a regular basis life.

For newcomers exploring art as a creative pursuit or for wellness reasons, engaging in creative pursuits begins with letting go of unrealistic expectations. Being creative will not be about becoming a famous artist or perhaps a mediocre person. It's about allowing yourself to flex the creative muscles all of us have and having fun with all of the sensory and emotional elements of the concept.

Next, think in regards to the activities you felt free to explore as a baby. Did you wish to sing, play outside, dance, make plays, or write short stories? Allow yourself to take pleasure in all of the creative activities that bring you peace and joy.

Oh Cultural tradition, tinkering with electronics, making a present for somebody or simply specializing in on a regular basis beauty – any of those could be creative activities. And like all muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Over time, you'll end up becoming more confident and daring in your creative ways.

Whatever it's, make time each week for this creative pursuit – possibly the toughest step of all. If it seems “insignificant” in comparison with the demands of on a regular basis life like work or family, try considering of it as one other type of sustenance.

Remember that creativity is as vital to human health as eating nutritious food or exercising and getting good rest. So because the Latin saying goes: “Plene vivere.” Live to the fullest.


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