Why the Arts are Crucial to Positive Mental Health

As we move into the Summer months the media is filling up with articles on getting ‘Summer body ready', ‘healthy recipes to get you in shape for Summer’. Why are we so obsessed with getting our physical health in check, yet become neglectful when it comes to our mental health?

This Mental Health Awareness Week we want to focus on how creative outlets are essential to improving mental health and well-being. Often in adulthood we lose our creativity - in school, art, drama and music encourage us to keep our creative juices flowing, but once we leave school, unless we go into these professions specifically, most of us never pick up a paintbrush or instrument again. All too often we are overwhelmed by social standards, stress and with the cost of living rising, it is only natural that our mental health has dwindled.

An outlet is needed to bring back a spark into our lives, and there is no better outlet than the creative arts. Here are some of the top 5 ways the arts positively impact our mental health.

Provides an Outlet
A lot of the time we struggle to find the right words to express how we are feeling. Art provides us with a creative outlet to express ourselves. Whether it be painting a picture or composing a melody, getting everything out of your head without using words is the therapy we need and improves our emotional intelligence.

Creates a Social Connection
A big factor of poor mental health is loneliness. Especially in the post-covid, digital world, people are struggling to find those authentic human connections again. Joining a choir or dance company provides you with that sense of community. It’s an opportunity to make friends and work together on a collective purpose. This social connection is rooted in Science - when we come together as a group in a creative setting our bodies release Oxytocin, also known as ‘the social hormone’.

Increases Happiness and Fun
This one is pretty self explanatory - these activities are fun! Dancing releases dopamine and endorphins which causes you to be happier and more relaxed therefore improving your mental well-being.

Builds Confidence
Poor mental health can stem from insecurities and a lack of confidence. With social media and influencer culture creating unrealistic standards for many people, it is hard to find the confidence to be comfortable in our own skin. Acting especially requires us to face our anxieties and perform to a crowd. It teaches us to be present in the moment and to block out the pressures of the outside world.

Strengthening the Mind
Now, this may sound quite ambiguous on the surface but in reality learning dance routines, the chords on a guitar or lines of a song, all strengthens your brain memory function. As we age, so does our brain. Learning new skills such as these helps improve brain function, keeping us alert and sharp. The flow of these activities encourages mindfulness, and in turn, it becomes a form of therapy to improve your quality of life.

 

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