Art for wellness

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“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso

In our lives, we do so many things to keep ourselves healthy and happy. Happiness and good health depend on each other. As an unhealthy mind can make one physically unhealthy, an unhealthy body can make one mentally unhealthy too. Hence, it is essential to maintain the balance between the two. However, there are situations in life when your body may become greatly unhealthy, and in such situations, it is essential to keep your mind’s sanity. For this, one must train the mind in the early stages of one’s life. If not, as we grow older, the mind also becomes older, stiffer, stubborn, and rigid. An untrained mind, will not help one to lead a happy, healthy and relaxed life.

Among the many ways that we can train our mind to remain and retain its sanity, mindfulness, and placidity, art is one of the most successful methods.

When I am talking about art here, I mean drawing and painting. Drawing and painting have a large number of benefits for the mind and body. It is a mode of relaxation, rejuvenation, and realisation. Art has always been one of the most successful methods of expressing oneself as well as a therapeutic method of healing people. It has mental and physical healing powers.

One will wonder how to draw or paint if the talent is not there within. But the good news is that, although artistic talent and skill are gifted, or born with, nurture, training, and learning can play a notable part too. True, if one is not born with the gift of art they may not succeed as great painters, yet, training can do a great lot of help.

Also, here I am not talking about the skill one must learn as a profession or as a craft, but as a way of healing and therapy.

What are the benefits of art and how can it help one to be healthy?

Mental health benefits relaxes the mind

Drawing and painting are calming arts. They calm the mind and body. One must come into a calm state of mind to focus on drawing or painting. Also, when the mind is calmed the body feels the calming effect of the mind. The heart rate slows down, the blood flow relaxes and the brain sends signals to the body to remain calm and relax.

While drawing or painting, the mind, eyes, and hands (or feet) are coordinated with each other. The eye is sharply observing the object you are drawing and the colours and shapes, while the brain is busy understanding the colours, directions, perspective, light and dark, etc. The hand (or feet) is busy putting all that information on paper or canvas.

Improves focus and concentration

Drawing and painting are similar to meditation. While engaged in drawing and painting, one keeps their mind fully focused on their work. The moment the mind loses its focus, the drawing loses its focus. Therefore, drawing and painting are a rigid way of training the mind to stay focused.

Helps to express emotions and thoughts

This is a great way to express your emotions and thoughts, without using words, but with colours and shapes. Rather than bottling up emotions, it is essential to let go of them and free the mind.

Children’s drawings and paintings are often studied and analyzed to understand the psychological and physical problems children are going through.

Physical health benefits calms the body

While engaged in drawing and painting as I have explained above, the brain sends calming signals to the body. the heart rate relaxes and good hormones are released.

Improves the eye muscles improves hand motor skills

 You don’t need to master the subject. Grab a set of pastels or paint or even a pencil and draw. Draw what you see and what you feel. Let the mind express its innermost thoughts and explore the world of colours. Let your mind and body relax.

 “Art is the lie that enables us to realise the truth.” ― Pablo Picasso

By Ama H. Vanniarachchy