The Psychological Benefits of Making Art

People often have the misconception that one has to be an artist to benefit from doing art and furthermore that only painting or sculpting is considered art.  I should possibly have reconsidered the heading of this blog and amended it to ‘The Psychological Benefits of Being Creative’.  Any creative process – whether you are drawing, colouring or doing mosaic – will give you the same type of benefits.

Creating relieves stress.

Consider the number of adult colouring books sold daily with the promise of the calm and almost meditative-benefits of colouring and this will give you an indication of the scope.  Being creative occupies your mind and literally relieves you from thinking about the stresses of daily life.  You might find yourself ‘in the zone’ and so focused at the task at hand, that time literally slips away.

The process of creating can assist in developing problem-solving skills.  The adage goes that there is more than one way to skin a cat – adjusted for art’s sake to “there is more than one way to draw the skin on a cat”.  The artist is continuously making new plans on how to achieve the desired result, adjusting, rethinking and planning.  In this way, he creates new ways of solving the problem – a very brain-stimulating exercise!  So, according to scientists – in addition to eating blueberries and drinking green tea – create art and the added benefit is that you are creating new neural pathways in your brain.

Small Girl with Paint on her hands and face

Creating increases self-confidence.

You don’t need to be Picasso to be proud of your own work.  Finishing a project – one that you envisioned and worked at creating – can give you a feeling of accomplishment.  There is the added benefit of competing with yourself and seeing your own progress as you learn to accomplish what you set out to do.  Every now and then I like drawing something I have drawn before, maybe not the exact same image, but something similar.  Comparing these drawings allows me to appreciate the work I have put into improving and drives me to draw and create more.

Art allows self-expression.

Whether you are sculpting or painting, creating gives you the opportunity to communicate with a different vocabulary.  Every creation evokes a different feeling – whether the serene countryside painted in muted tones or the jagged edges of a dark metal sculpture – a feeling the artist was communicating; a visual expression of their inner state.  Allowing oneself to express feelings and frustrations can assist in bringing about healing, or at least identifying the source of the struggle.

As if we need any more great reasons, doing something you love promotes the release of endorphins – those happy-hormones that have even been shown to combat stress and reduce pain. Art is fun, creating is fun and if I have to pick where I pluck my endorphins from, I confess that I definitely pick art above running!  But that is just me – nobody said you cannot do both!

It is said that change needs to start at home, let’s make this world a more beautiful and happy place by taking a small step and setting aside 30 minutes each day to indulge ourselves in the process of creating.  The benefits are endless!

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