Art Therapy: How Getting Creative Helps Our Mental Health

Arts and crafts are a form of therapy, did you know? There are many types of art therapies, such as dance, music, and drama. But we will focus on visual art therapy, which is more aligned to arts and crafts. The great part about arts and crafts is there is no age limit to it. Anyone can do it, both adults and kids.

Art is a medium of expression. It’s a way for us to share our emotions and thoughts through symbolism and visualization. It’s also a great way to keep busy, de-stress, and stay healthy. So, grab your scissors, liquid glue, and any other art supplies that come to mind and give these activities a try:

  • Designing postcards

The best thing about designing postcards is being able to send it to your loved ones when you’re done making them. You could even send postcards to strangers all over the world if you’d like. There is a website called Postcrossing that allows you to do just that. You simply have to create an account, and then an address will be assigned to you. Once you’ve got the address, all that’s left for you to do is send a postcard. You’ll receive one too, don’t worry.

There’s something about putting in the effort to design a card and making a hand-written letter that makes sending and receiving postcards so intimate—even if you don’t know who you’re sending it to. It’s a fun and creative way to connect with people outside of social media. It’s also a great way to lift people’s spirits during times like these.

  • Making a memory collage

During the quarantine, you’ll find yourself reminiscing on memories before the pandemic ever hit. A great way for you to look back at all these great memories is to make a memory collage. Collages are so easy to make; all you have to do is cut and paste. It could be messy, or it could be neat. Whatever suits your style.

This is a great way to have your best memories all in one display. It’ll be a reminder of all the great times you had. It’s also a reminder that there’s something to look forward to after all this is over.

  • Knitting

They say knitting is the new yoga. Studies have found that knitting has a ton of health benefits, both mental and physical. An organization called Knit for Peace conducted a survey in which the results showed that 70% of knitters said the activity improved their health.

Eighty-two percent said the craft made them feel relaxed, 65% found knitting as a way to feel useful, and 92% revealed knitting enhanced their mood. They also stated in their findings that knitting could help lower blood pressure, decrease depression and anxiety, distract from chronic pain, reduce loneliness and isolation, and slow the onset of dementia.

This is not the only study that proves the health benefits of knitting. In 2012, a psychiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon published a book entitled “The Creativity Cure: Building Happiness With Your Own Two Hands.” Their studies showed that knitting not only helps with depression and anxiety but could help prevent arthritis and tendinitis as well.

  • Sewing

Much like knitting, sewing also has health benefits and great calming effects. It especially helps with dealing with depression, anxiety, and reducing stress. Did you know that after World War I, doctors experimented on using embroidery as a way to help with shell-shocked soldiers’ mental health? And it proved to be effective. So, if you’re feeling a little shaken-up and anxious because of everything that’s going on in the world, why not try sewing? Try upcycling some of your old clothes. Refresh your clothes and your mind.

  • Coloring

Coloring books are no longer just for children. Someone finally decided to create adult coloring books, and it’s helping people with their mental health. There are tons of adult coloring books on sale nowadays. You can get them online or at a bookstore. Coloring has been proven to help calm down our amygdala. The amygdala is the part of our brain that controls all our fears and anxieties. This is also your second chance to finally color within the lines!

Kidding aside, arts and crafts have proven to do a lot for both our mental and physical health. Doing these activities will help awaken your creativity, get rid of boredom, keep you busy, and help you de-stress during these trying times. So, if you ever run out of things to do, maybe you should look into trying these activities. You could even turn them into a hobby.

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Troublemaker. Wannabe music fanatic. Beer aficionado. Devoted food junkie. Twitter fan. Freelance thinker.Won several awards for analyzing sheep in Cuba. Spent 2002-2009 promoting action figures in the UK. What gets me going now is getting to know pond scum in the UK. Won several awards for investing in toy soldiers on the black market. Spent several months getting my feet wet with spit-takes in Gainesville, FL. Spent 2002-2009 testing the market for tobacco in the aftermarket.