RealePink is a place for women with breast cancer and those at risk for the disease
to share their thoughts and experiences, especially those related to the mind body self-care practices

Monday, August 22, 2011

10 Ways Art Relieves Stress and Benefits Your Life

The act of creating art, crafts, and other things with your hands can be a great stress reliever. It keeps you in the moment and encourages sustained focus and heightened awareness on an object outside yourself.

One who creates has a chance to take a break from daily activities, turn away from current stressors and demands, and focus on making something new. Being engaged in this lifegiving process, you can develop clarity of thought and positive feelings about yourself and your place in the world. Artistic timeouts, both making and experiencing art, are good for individuals, families, and even groups.

The simple act of creating can…

1.     Free your mind to focus on something unique and nurturing
2.     Engage your senses in focused sight, sound, and touch
3.     Make you mindful of your own ability to create new things
4.     Foster contemplation, quiet reflection and immersion in the activity and object
5.     Develop your sense of self-worth, and give value and meaning to the day
6.     Reveal your thoughts and feelings to yourself and others
7.     Connect you with the world outside your mind and body
8.     Bring back a childlike wonder at colors, textures, shapes, etc.
9.     Be satisfying, meaningful, and fun!
10.   Encourage gratitude and hope

To create is to give life to something. It is a positive, life affirming action that gifts the creator and those who encounter the creation. While art therapy is a recognized form of health related intervention, creating art or crafts, on your own time, can have some of the same benefits. Creating or viewing art can also trigger a surge of the feel-good neurotransmitters.

Each of us is an integrated being. Everything we do with our minds affects our bodies and what we do with our bodies affects our minds. If you take out a pencil and draw what you feel on a sheet of paper, something will happen. If you take the family to the art museum and walk through the galleries, something will happen. Art benefits your body, mind, emotions, and interactions. The synergy is fascinating and fruitful.

When faced with difficult circumstances or simply the challenges of living, art therapy can allow people to create art in a safe setting that can be tailored to address particular issues and concerns. Art therapy is defined as the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma, or challenges, and by people who seek personal development. Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, one can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art. 

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