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Create Your Way to Wellness: How Art can Improve your Mental Health

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Many people turn to art as a form of self-expression and a creative outlet, but did you know that it can also have therapeutic benefits? There are actual studies that talk about how drawing, painting, or some other art form can actually reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and in some cases help with depression.

(Top image) Mom and Dad in his final days.

(Bottom Image) My first attempt at a portrait of my parents. I created it shortly after his death in August of 2010.

Creating art allows you to focus on the present moment and forget about any worries or stressors that might be weighing you down. I know this firsthand. Art was what I turned to when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer and it was art that I turned to after his death. I worked through my feelings of loss through my art.

Then during the pandemic, art not only helped with dealing with all the uncertainty swirling around us, but it also gave me clarity that I needed to leave my corporate job.

If I look back at my life, art was always the place I went to in order to feel whole again.

So if you realize you need a creative outlet in your life consider yourself ahead of most people. Some of us never made this a priority until later in life. Here are three tips to get you started on your own creative journey.

  1. Keep it simple. Just doodle, sketch, or play with some watercolor paints.

  2. If you have always worked with one art medium, then try something new. I have been diving deeper into digital art recently and I am in the middle of learning Adobe Illustrator and creating surface patterns. This is something I never thought I would be interested in. Boy was I wrong!

  3. Set aside some time each day or week to work on your art. Even if it's just 15 minutes a day.

Remember to use your creativity as a tool of self-expression and stress relief first. Just get lost in the process.

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