Whether it’s writing, dancing, drawing or music creative expression is good for you. Making art is often considered an optional extra in our life but it really does deserve a front row seat when it comes to health and wellbeing.
It was over 12 years ago now, whilst completing my Masters Degree in Creative Art Therapy that I began my own personal investigation into how art heals (me). My creative projects were a source of immense pleasure and comfort and I set out to understand how they seemed to affect and enhance my sense of wholeness, and that of others. I naively found that I was part of a long, long standing tradition.
Children naturally and intuitively gravitate toward play and the making process yet adults often deny themselves this therapeutic experience. Engaging in this form of play and fun is too often sadly seen to be the domain of the professional artist and yet everybody has tremendous creative capacities.
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso
Creative practice has so much to offer that has nothing to do with becoming an artist (although it is indeed a very possible side effect – so beware). Exploring, experimenting and playing in a non-competitive environment are valuable and nourishing endeavours, and the outcomes are of less significance than the process itself.
Art is an important avenue of expression and communication. It helps us communicate with our self as well as connecting with and reaching out to an ‘audience/viewer’. It offers a means of untangling and in turn sharing our unique point of view and experience of our world. It enables us to turn away from the noise around us and direct our attention inward, to listen more closely to our own voice. It helps us experiment and problem solve in a safe way. Art also allows us to make meaning of our life experience and put it in perspective.
Having a creative outlet contributes greatly to a healthy, balanced life. By giving ourselves permission to practice this form of play with the joyful abandon of childhood we can continue to reap its benefits throughout life.
Is art making or play already a staple part of your wellbeing regimen? What are small ways you could include creative practices more regularly into your life?
Stay tuned for some suggestions….