Three Reasons Why Art is Good for Your Mental Health

Art
Art Therapy on Apple’s iPad Pro

There is little doubt that mental health diseases come with a stigma. The world has gotten better in recent years, however, coming out about depression was very challenging. As I recently wrote about, I have a tendency to over-analyze. When I finally did decide to seek help, it was to the point of being a desperate plea. And at the time I had no coping mechanism in place to help me combat this debilitating disease. This was the case until I stumbled upon, almost by accident, an iPad app named Procreate. This ten-dollar iPad app may have literally saved my life.

Another way to express one’s feelings is through art. In this article, Encyclopedia.com defines art as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” With abstract art being potentially the one exception, looking at or listening to someone’s artwork, it is easy to imagine what the artist was thinking.

3. Art can be a Distraction for your Mind

For me, the best way to combat my depression is the distract myself with something else whenever I feel down. Taking my mind away from the pain is my first step toward better mental health. Whether the medium is digital, or painting, art can be an excellent way to take your mind off of daily stresses and anxiety. And here is a secret for you, free of charge. We all have daily distractions, right? Taking time for yourself by simply picking up an adult coloring book may have a positive impact on your mental stability. Check out this article from Healthline.com where they wrote about the benefits of coloring on PTSD patients.

2. Art Allows Your Mind to Focus

When starting this journey to better mental health, finding out that with a few pieces of technology I could produce something nice, was a Godsend. Having most of the tools already, I quickly found out that when I draw, I felt better. It is a simple concept really. Even if the better feeling is temporary, doing something to cause a distraction may have a benefit on mental health — at least for a time.

After picking up my iPad, I realized that my focus improved. In the past, I could watch TV and not be able to remember anything about the story immediately at the conclusion of the show. Now, with my iPad and Apple Pencil in hand, I can draw whatever comes to mind while still focusing on my surroundings. Additionally, I have found that drawing while in one of my endless Zoom meetings for work has drastically improved my focus and attention to detail.

1. Art Can Boost Your Self-Esteem

When I shared my first piece of digital art on social media, I had a great fear of being judged poorly. Depression for me is brought on by severe separation anxiety and part of that also includes a fear of not being liked. Sharing my art, knowing fully well that I am by no means an artist was challenging.

Feeling bad for a very long
time and having put
on a fake smile for so
many years, I had forgotten
what it meant to feel good.

Feeling bad for a very long time and having put on a fake smile for somany years, I had forgotten what it meant to feel good. One thing about me which may not be evident is that I crave being accepted. Throughout my childhood and even into adulthood, I have wanted nothing more than to fit in. I was that kid who was last to be picked. I was that kid who was the first target at dodgeball. And I was that kid who stammered when he spoke. All I ever wanted was to fit in and to be liked.

However, and to my surprise, when I shared my first piece of digital art, the response was overwhelming. People for some odd reason seemed to like my merger attempts at drawing. So Forest Gump would have said, “I just keep drawing and drawing and drawing”.

Bonus – There is More to Art than Drawing

Drawing is not the only form of art. And maybe you are not interested in drawing or painting. Here are a few other forms of art to help distract your mind from the pain.

  • Literature
  • Theater
  • Music
  • Sculpting

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If you made it this far, please consider commenting below, subscribing, and also sharing on your social media sites. Most importantly, I ask for your prayers. I write this weekly blog as an outlet in my fight against depression. However, my hope is that something I write here may help others who may be struggling. If you would like to help with my battle against depression, check out my online Etsy store and affiliate links. Most proceeds are donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or by dialing 988. You may also text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. In emergencies, call 911, or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.

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