Mental Mondays: How Art Therapy Can Help Your Mental Health

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irstly, I’d like to appreciate the measures mental health experts take to ensure individuals live a healthy life, mentally. For people uncomfortable with traditional face-to-face therapy, there are various ways to get a mental boost without experiencing the awkward feeling of another’s gaze at you, especially if you mind. Creative forms of therapy like music, poetry, dance, and art have also helped people deal with anxiety, eating disorders, addictions, and stress. It also helps children go through trauma or living with disabilities.

Still, not everyone will subscribe to some modern forms of therapy, including art therapy because they feel they don’t have a drop of artistic fluid in them. If you or a loved one is resistant to this form of therapy, don’t force it. There are lots of therapy options that could resonate with you. The key is to be open-minded about it to enable effective results.

What is art therapy?

This form of therapy leverages artistic methods to boost creative expression in individuals. This therapeutic creativity boost is believed to enhance the mind and foster healing. It is a non-verbal way to engage your mind and body to achieve a healthier psychological life.

According to the American Art Therapy Association, “Art Therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem, and self-awareness cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change.”

The process

You don’t have to consider yourself a Picasso to indulge in art therapy. The concept is to allow people to express themselves without limits or judgment. Sometimes, words alone don’t cut it. Art therapy exercises enable you to pour yourself into art, and we know that unburdening is an integral part of healing.

From painting to sculpting, an individual is allowed to freely express themselves. After which, they have a conversation about the work with their art therapist. This can bring clarity to a person, especially one with difficulties understanding their thought process.

If you are going through any of these conditions, you can consider art therapy.

• Depression and anxiety
• Post-traumatic stress disorder
• Addictions
• Burnout
• Relational/emotional issues
• Eating disorders
• Brain injury
• Living with disabilities
• Severe stress
• Cancer
• Age-related challenges
• Grief
• Prison rehabilitation

Check out 5 benefits of art therapy that can help foster your mental health…

#1. Stress management

Photo: Anna Shvets/Pexels

As adults, we tend to always hit the stress overload button before we stop. Even then, we often continue to expose ourselves to more stress until our bodies and minds scream a resounding no. Then we break down and are finally forced to step on the brakes. This form of therapy helps rejuvenate your mind and put things back on the wheel in a healthy form. Nothing forced, nothing broken.

#2. Self-awareness

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Photo: Cottonbro studio/Pexels

Art therapy helps increase self-esteem, confidence, and a better understanding of oneself. When you know your triggers, you likely avoid them. When you are aware of things that boost your joy and productivity, you anchor on those. The process helps you look inwards and become aware of yourself.

#3. Conflict resolution

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Photo: Antoni Shkraba/Pexels

With clarity of mind, there are effective chances of resolving conflict. When you express yourself, discover the root cause of your mental issues, and put things into perspective, resolving issues becomes easier. Sometimes we suck at conflict resolutions because we have everything muddled up within, and there’s no way you can make proper decisions this way.

#4. A good release

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

One of the most prominent advantages of art therapy is the opportunity it gives for an emotional release. As we already know, sometimes words don’t cut it. If you’re unsure of how to process your emotions and fear speaking about it could go south, try painting, sculpting, photography, or any other form of artistic expression. It helps release built-up feelings and stress.

#5. Resilience

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Photo: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

This form of therapy has helped individuals go through traumatic situations without becoming numb. It allows you to feel everything, and then adapt and grow through it all. This takes time, but it helps you see the positive aspect of yourself, and this provides balance. To be resilient, one must master ways to adapt to survive.

There will be days when you have little or no inspiration to create your piece of art. Understand that it’s perfectly alright to draw inspiration from another’s work. This isn’t a classroom with lecturers scrutinizing for grades. Find a piece that resonates with your present feeling, and recreate it mindfully, but with your flare. This also includes playing a song that relates to your present emotion. It helps to float your feelings to the surface, and there’s a guide available to help process every bit of it to chart the course towards positivity.

Featured image: yacobchuk/iStock


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