Art plays a huge role in how people feel and we know February is mostly centred around LOVE.
Self-love is key for mental health and well-being, keeping depression and anxiety at bay. Art – no matter whether you choose to create it yourself or simply observe and enjoy it – is a relaxing and inspiring activity for many people. However, the particular benefits of artistic expression go much further than relaxation and enjoyment. Studies suggest that art therapy can be very valuable in treating issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and even some phobias. It's a great way to express your emotions without words, process complex feelings and find relief. Today we discuss the mental health benefits of art therapy and why you it's the perfect way to practice self-love this Valentine's Day.
Who Should Try Art Therapy?
Anyone who feels overwhelmed or pressured by the hectic world we live in should try art therapy. Creating art will give you a chance to slow down and explore any issues you may be having. Art therapy improves the mental health of people who are dealing with addictions, anxiety, attention disorders, grief and loss, dementia, depression, eating disorders, physical illness, PTSD, trauma, relationship issues and much more.
Since the focus is on the process and not the final product, art therapy is not about becoming a great artist but about finding meaning and connection in your life. All you need for it is a willingness to experiment.
Mental Health Benefits of Art Therapy
Art therapy can be used as a complement to traditional mental health treatment. The aim is to manage behaviors, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem.
Self-discovery: Creating art can help you acknowledge and recognize feelings that have been lurking in your subconscious.
Self-esteem: The process will give you a feeling of self-accomplishment which can be very valuable to improve your self-appreciation and confidence.
Emotional release: The greatest benefit of art therapy is giving you a healthy outlet for expressing and letting go all your feelings and fears. Complex emotions such as sadness or anger sometimes cannot be expressed with words. When you are unable to express yourself, but you desire emotional release, making art may help you to do it.
Stress relief: Fighting anxiety, depression or emotional trauma can be very stressful for you both mentally and physically. Creating art can be used to relieve stress and relax your mind and body.
Not Sure Where to Start?
Here are some prompts that can help you get started with art therapy practice:
Think of what you have a difficult time with yourself and create an image of this
Create an image that is a compassionate response to the first picture
After you create your artwork, take time to reflect on the activity. through journaling. Below are some prompts that can guide your reflection process:
How is it like to try to love yourself? And how was it today to do it through art?
If you could title these pictures what would they be and why?