Art as Therapy

Art as Therapy

Research shows that a beautiful sensation of euphoria is released when gazing upon an artwork you really like. The feeling is not at all incidental; repeated exposure to such a positive source of stimulation makes you feel calmer and generally a more emotionally balanced person.

MRI scans show us that creating, viewing, or collecting art stimulates the emotion and reward centers in our brains. When we look at a piece of art that is pleasing us, dopamine is released, thus creating a psychological state that can be compared to the feeling of falling in love.

 

 

A London university study found that gallery visitors’ cortisol levels (which is the stress hormone) decreased after 35-minute lunchtime stroll through the gallery.

Interestingly, it’s also been found that art affects men and women differently. Women receive the most satisfaction and well-fare from the act of making art. Men, on the contrary, received the most benefit from consuming it – such as viewing, buying, or collecting. All in all, similarly to meditation practice, regular consumption or the creation of art can ‘rewire’ our brains to improve stress resistance, empathy, and self-awareness.

 

 

Various cultures have been using the healing power of art for thousands of years. With today’s scientific proof and research, we can easily confirm the hypothesis that art truly can be beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing.

 

 ‘Making art’ as therapy exercises:

 

  1. Create response art 

Choose a song lyric, poem, prose passage, or quote that you connect with in some way. Respond to it by scribbling with a pencil, coloring with crayons, or whipping out some watercolors. There is no right and wrong. Just use the first tool that comes to your mind and follow your emotions. 

 

      2. Colour a feeling wheel

Start by drawing a circle and dividing it into eighths, like a pie. Then write one emotion (like sadness, rage, frustration, shock, joy, or anxiety) in each section. Lastly, using whatever materials you have available, pick a color that resonates with that feeling and fill it in.

 

       3. Go on an inspirational walk

Start by drawing a circle and dividing it into eighths, like a pie. Then write one emotion (like sadness, rage, frustration, shock, joy, or anxiety) in each section. Lastly, using whatever materials you have available, pick a color that resonates with that feeling and fill it in.