I, the founder of Seek A Therapy, maybe a little biased having spent my whole life studying and creating art and design for a living. Art, we believe, is one of the most therapeutic things you can do to bring a sense of balance in an often chaotic world. In this article, we discuss the positive effects of art. Both in creating it and viewing it on the mental wellbeing of individuals. You may ask yourself, ‘can art help heal my depression’? Read this article and find out.
Can Art Help Heal My Depression. Yes, By Taking Focus Off The Wrong Things
When suffering depression there is a tendency to focus on what we deem to be all that is wrong with our world. Every aspect looks like the worst-case scenario going through our head.
Following this, what comes out of our mouth is rarely positive. When one comes to realise this it only makes you feel worse. Often, being so harsh on yourself for constantly being negative it brings you down further. You get into a terrible spiral of negative thinking and tormenting the self.
When you choose to undertake artwork, even if just a sketch, you purposely focus on your canvas and nothing else. You grab your materials and start to express a concept that all your mind becomes focused on.
By working on a piece of art you forget the world around you. You stop focusing on what is bothering you in your regular life. Instead, you express something that is in your mind.
For the moment in time, you are attending to your artwork your racing thoughts are put to the back of your mind.
Allows you to express hidden emotions and experiences
Sometimes talking about how you feel or experiences you have had can feel too traumatic. Or maybe you don’t want to burden anyone around you with your own heavy negative load or you are worried about changing people’s perception of you. It can feel like no one really cares anyway so you keep it inside and to yourself. Doing this, it can hurt an awful lot.
It is something that men, in particular, tend to do. Partly due to society ( and more often, the pressure on themselves ) expecting a man to be strong, no matter the circumstance. As a man, the founder has always argued the case that it is actually stronger to express your emotions and thoughts. Suppressing them isn’t healthy. Going against ‘the social norms’ and being express means you feel you may face the possibilities of ridicule and mockery. Often this isn’t the case even though we feel it.
If you are one of these people that tend to find it difficult to break the social norms for fear of judgement there are other options. Communicating your thoughts and feelings via art can help you to express difficult experiences in a creative way. You may not have been able to do so in traditional talking ways.
Art helps to communicate difficult experiences without fear of ridicule.
Can Art Help Heal My Depression? Yes, It Allows You To Release Trapped Emotion
All art has emotional connotations. It could even be said, emotion, is in fact, what makes us all human and of course, is both negative and positive in its expression.
When we experience a difficult experience in life, as discussed before, a lot of us tend to keep it to ourselves for fear of hurting more. Or possibly making the person you talk to feel as bad as you do. This is very bad for your emotional self and can fester away inside of you.
By creating art you are allowing yourself to release the feelings of the past out of your mind and onto canvas or paper. If what you create is a very dark and morbid piece of art it is probably best not to keep it. Instead, you can burn it in controlled conditions as it will remind you of a negative experience. By burning it, or destroying it, you are also choosing to destroy the feelings you had about that situation.
By creating a painting or drawing of a negative situation you are actively choosing to turn it into a positive. You are releasing this trapped thought and also possibly creating something beautiful.
This piece of art can then act as a trophy to say ‘yes! I did change the thought and overcame this great difficulty!’.
Art allows you to release trapped emotions and keeping it within.
It helps us to reconnect with who we are and our ‘inner child’
Sometimes in life, we make a lot of bad decisions and we lose our way of who we are and what we really want from life.
Art is something we all did as children. For many, it becomes one of our favourite activities. Getting the paints out, drawing and crafting. But somewhere we forget that we love this so much. By choosing to create art as adults we are reconnecting with that creative part of ourselves. A lot of us tend to lose our creative side as we become ‘responsible adults’ and get ‘realistic’ vocations.
Art helps us remember that we are ALL creative
Art Is Rewarding
One of the greatest things about creating art is that it is very rewarding.
When you have completed your piece of art you are left with a finished canvas. You can choose to either wall mount it freely, frame it and also possibly choose to even sell it!
It is quite a satisfying feeling to finish a piece of artwork knowing the amount of work you have put into it. The concept you created, the way it has improved the appearance of your habitat in which you live or the compliments from others that look at it.
Art rewards you with a product that is very personal to you.
Art helps you see the world through different eyes
Whether you are creating art or viewing it in an exhibition you are going to start seeing the world in new ways.
When you view art in a gallery the artist is ( on a whole ) trying to get you to think about the world differently and question your perceptions. Consider Andy Warhol’s prints of soup cans and famous persons. It is our opinion that he brought it to the forefront of our minds how mass production is changing the way we live. Banksy, on the other hand, challenges a lot of political and stereotypical views of how society acts in the modern age. As well as communicating things no one dares say but often thinks about.
This is the power of art to alter our perceptions of our reality and raise awareness to our subconscious activity. The benefit of this is that we can also see our problems in a new light too.
Art helps you change your thoughts.
Art allows you to communicate without speaking a word
A picture speaks a thousand words…and then some! When you really put some thought into creating a piece of art to communicate something a picture can have deep meaning to you on a personal level. When someone else views it they may well see something you hadn’t intended to.
By creating art you are telling the world how you think without even speaking a word.
Art can record a passage in time culturally, historically and personally
When you create a painting you are expressing something about your ideas and thoughts for that moment in time. It is similar to taking a photograph only you are recording time in your life through your own perspective of reality.
The benefit of this is that when you look back at the artwork you created you will be able to see how far you have progressed. What were you communicating? What was your thought process? Has your painting/drawing style reflected how you were feeling at the period of time?
Culturally and historically speaking your artwork might also become a record of what was happening. For example, my painting called ‘soul tree’ was during the worst economic recession 2008 and how it had such a detrimental effect on John, the founder of SATs career as a new graduate of architecture.. Looking back now at it, John can see clearly how the recession had affected his mentality at that time and now, it is forever recorded in that painting. When in a good place it is a great feeling to look back on art like this.
Art helps you to become more reflective of important moments in life and how far you have come.
Art is never wrong
Lastly, art is great for depression because IT IS NEVER WRONG! It doesn’t matter what your style is, what it looks like, whether you make sure you paint accurately or you simply splash paint. Art is always correct.
When you are depressed you feel like you have done everything wrong or made bad decisions. Art allows you to express yourself without judgement and without ever being wrong.
Even if you feel it is not what you wanted to produce you can always paint over the top of it. Or alternatively, turn your page over and start again!
Art is never wrong and non-judgemental!
In Conclusion, Can Art Help Heal My Depression?
Art, in my opinion, has always been an expression of the self. No matter what the subject matter is or who the artist is it demonstrates a piece of the artists’ soul & mind. How they view the world and all it embodies.
Art can help you make sense of your own thoughts and your experiences ( which is particularly important for depression). It stops the suffer from feeling engulfed from thoughts from within their mind. Instead, partaking in art physicality records an idea in time acting as a visual diary whilst also going within to understand yourself.
The lasting reward of creating art is powerful. For both your mental health and the reward. You don’t have to be a great artist, just expressive, in any particular style you like. Can Art Help Heal My Depression? Absolutely! Go within and express yourself.
Have you used art to try to help you overcome depression what benefits did it have for you? Please comment in the box below