More than 16.1 million Americans suffer from depression, and about 1 in 5 adults suffer from mental illnesses, including depression, in a given year. Those who suffer can choose from a variety of therapy treatments that best fit their needs. Art therapy can be very therapeutic for those who suffer from depression. Here are four reasons why.
1. Art relieves stress
When you focus on the art you are creating, you are focused on the project and the details that go into the work. This focus helps take your mind off of the stress you are enduring. It is almost like meditation because your focus is so concentrated.
A popular stress-relieving activity is coloring. The new rave is adult coloring books. Many of these coloring books are specifically made to help alleviate stress. The stress just melts away when you spend time focusing on creating beautiful art.
2. Art relieves anxiety
Anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand, so it is no surprise that art therapy relieves anxiety as well. Art therapy has the ability to create a calming feeling while it regulates the nervous system.
There are several art activities that can be done to create a calmness within. Use a variety of many types of artwork to create or recreate a safe place. Take photos of things and places that make you feel at ease or cut out images from magazines to create collages. Draw, paint, or sculpt images that calm you and give you a sense of peace and happiness.
3. Art therapy changes the brain
Art therapy can actually change the brain. In fact, anything creative can change the brain. Some scientists believe that both sides of our brain work together when we do complex tasks such as creative works.
When creating artwork, you actually build new neurons in the brain, a process called Neurogenesis. Art therapy is known to do just that. It also aids in emotional regulation, which physically changes the brain.
4. Art therapy improves self-esteem
My father is an artist and was an art teacher for 32 years. My sister is a photographer for a popular outdoor company. I do not have art in my blood, but it is not because I do not want to. So, when I went to a studio where you are taught to create artwork whether you feel you are artistic or not, I was nervous.
However, the project I completed actually looked like art. I was pleased with the outcome, and when my dad had great things to say about it, my self-esteem was boosted.
The feeling of accomplishment of something aesthetically pleasing is a huge boost to the psyche and helps to ease symptoms of depression.
Depression is a serious concern for many people, and therapy is often needed to help people overcome it. Art therapy can be very therapeutic, calming, and physically and emotionally rewarding. The next time you feel dispirited, try creating art and see just how much better you will feel in no time.