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Does Art Really Heal The Heart?

Updated: Jun 10

Exploring the Truth Behind the Claims


 

We hear it all over—art can heal. But is it true, or just some guru trying to sell air?


In a world where stress, anxiety, and depression are increasingly common, finding effective ways to promote mental health and well-being is crucial. One powerful yet often overlooked tool for is art. Whether through creating or appreciating it, art has been shown to have profound effects on our emotional and psychological health. Let’s explore how engaging with

art can help us heal.



My personal healing journey

If you follow me, you know that art has been a big part of my well-being. Living in a foreign country, I had to say goodbye to a fulfilling career. I was newly married, pregnant, and had no social community. Was I happy in my personal life? Oh yes, I had a wonderful husband and wouldn’t change a thing 10 years later! But I had to grieve the loss of my career. It was my passion, where my heart truly opened to the world. With that chapter closing, how was I supposed to find happiness again?


I had nine months to discover a new passion. I did more yoga, meditated, and took time to just be present. One day, my husband brought home some canvases and paintbrushes. Little did he know how much joy and fulfillment that would bring me! Fast forward to today: art has been and still is a blessing. When I paint, I am present and mindful. When I share my art, I see people smiling. I have been told multiple times how soothing and peaceful my art feels to those who encounter it. This means a lot to me, bringing joy to my heart and allowing me to share that joy with others!



 

Now more about science behind Art

 


Art Therapy: A Path to Healing

Art therapy is a well-established field that utilizes the creative process to help individuals explore their emotions, develop self-awareness, manage stress, and boost self-esteem. According to the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), art therapy can be especially beneficial for those dealing with trauma, anxiety, and depression.


Scientific Evidence:

  • A study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveals that art therapy can significantly reduce symptoms of trauma and depression. Read the NIH study here.

  • The Journal of the American Art Therapy Association features numerous articles demonstrating the effectiveness of art therapy in various settings.


Mental Health Benefits of Art

Engaging in creative activities can profoundly impact our mental health. The American Psychological Association (APA) highlights that creativity can help reduce stress and anxiety while enhancing mood. Art provides an outlet for expression when words are insufficient, allowing us to process complex emotions in a safe and constructive manner.


Further Reading:

  • The British Journal of General Practice discusses how creative activities can enhance mental health and well-being. Explore the BJGP article.


 

The Impact of Seeing Beautiful Art

Experiencing beautiful art can be just as healing as creating it. Viewing art can evoke a sense of awe, wonder, and tranquility, which can have a calming effect on the mind and body. Studies have shown that looking at art can activate the brain’s reward centers, similar to the effects of love and other pleasurable experiences. This activation can lead to increased feelings of happiness and reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Museums, galleries, and even virtual art exhibitions offer opportunities to immerse oneself in the beauty of art, providing a welcome escape from daily stressors and a chance to rejuvenate.

 

Art in Hospitals and Clinical Settings

Many hospitals have recognized the healing power of art and integrated it into patient care. Programs at institutions like the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic are designed to help patients manage pain, cope with chronic illnesses, and improve their overall mood through artistic activities. These programs often include art therapy sessions, music therapy, and opportunities for patients to create their own art.





Neuroscientific Insights

Engaging in artistic activities activates the brain's reward pathways, leading to the release of dopamine, which improves mood and reduces stress. Neuroscientific research supports the idea that art can be a powerful tool for emotional regulation and psychological resilience.


Building Community Through Art

Participating in community art projects can foster a sense of belonging and connection. Community-based art programs, such as those offered by Creative Arts Therapies (CATs) and local community centers, provide opportunities for individuals to connect, collaborate, and heal together. You can also find numerous groups on social media to share your art and create connections.


In conclusion

Art is more than just a form of expression; it’s a powerful tool for healing. Whether through formal art therapy, engaging in creative activities, or simply appreciating beautiful art, the benefits of art are clear. By integrating art into our lives, we can enhance our mental health, build stronger communities, and find new ways to heal.



Explore More:



By embracing the healing power of art,

we can open new pathways to well-being and emotional resilience.




 

About Me

I offer 1-on-1 and group, online art lessons designed to help you unlock your creative potential and experience the healing power of art firsthand. Specializing in acrylic painting and alcohol ink, I begin each session with a moment to connect and be present, often with a cup of tea or your favorite drink. I always set an intention of calm and serenity when I paint, hoping these feelings will transfer to my clients. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist looking to refine your skills, I tailor each lesson to meet your individual needs. You can also explore available artwork HERE.


Visit THE COURSE PAGE for more information and to book a session.


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