Painting Away Stress
There’s a huge misconception about art and artists. Many people believe that either you are born with artistic talent or you’re not and there’s nothing you can do about it. I don’t agree with that as I discussed in my last blog post .
Whilst we can’t all be Rembrandts, the desire to create, along with some proper guidance can take a person who hasn’t painted since they were young, have only modest artistic ability, or “can only just draw stickmen”, and rediscover their inner artist.
It doesn’t matter whether you think you’re talented or not. If you’ve ever had the urge to embrace your creative side, why not do it? There are lots of benefits to be had from painting.
Painting can have a positive effect on your mind, body and spirit. Painting is a great way to relax. Many painters find that painting is a type of sanctuary in our fast-paced life. Perhaps this is due to the involvement, challenge and attention to detail that it requires. Immersing oneself in a couple of hours of deep concentration, painting can lead to a state of mind not dissimilar to prayer or meditation. Consciously performing activities while the unconscious part is also expressed is called an ‘Alpha’ state. This state of mind provides a mental rest and can revitalise and energise an individual, lower stress, generate relaxation and instil feelings of happiness. Some painters even report feeling no pain while painting. It’s no wonder then that Art is used as therapy.
Art therapy is widely used to help improve various mental and physical symptoms including pain reduction, anxiety, depression, effects of emotional abuse, cancer, post-traumatic disorder and other mental health issues like bipolar.
Stress is usually caused by pressure, which is closely related to expectations, goals etc. Once in awhile, paint something only for yourself. (Alev Oguz)
Numerous studies have found that people who paint on a regular basis are usually less anxious, have a healthier self-esteem level and are less prone to illness.
A study by Norwegian researcher, Kownraad Cuypers, found particularly interesting outcomes. Using statistical analysis on the health data of 50797 people it was found that participation in cultural activities, such as painting, was highly associated with life satisfaction, good health, lower anxiety and depression.
This video — Can Art Be Medicine? — shows some real-life examples of how art is being used as therapy.
Particularly moving is the story of a Marine with PTSD who used art therapy to express his pain in a safe way and help lift the burden in a way that nothing else had been able to do.
Painting in a non-competitive, non-judgemental, relaxed environment where everyone is there for fun, getting positive feedback from the tutor and your peers and producing a painting that you are happy with feels great, gives you a boost in self-esteem and provides a sense of accomplishment.
Even if you are an absolute beginner, your state of mind will benefit from joining a painty workshop, picking up a brush and transforming a bare canvas. Focusing only on the brush strokes, the colours and your creativity will help calm body and mind.
Painty’s workshops will take you through the creative process step by step and will soon have you reaping the health benefits, both physical and emotional that participating in painting bestows.