The idea that art and mental health can be correlated is a foreign concept for so many. But art therapy is increasingly becoming the go-to option to improve social, emotional and mental health by promoting self compassion, insight, sense of agency and self worth. With physical inactivity and social isolation at an all time high, participating in activities that can improve your mental health has become more important than ever before!
“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life”Pablo Picasso
Practising art can be tremendously beneficial to your mental health and overall happiness. It’s not just limited for a specific age group either and is an equally rewarding experience for adults and kids alike. Art and mental health are connected as the process of creating can take your mind off the everyday activities, provide a relaxing distraction and help you remain in the present. Moreover, specific art forms like traditional Indian art are incredibly detail oriented, which means that the focus required to learn and create these masterpieces is a form of therapy in itself!
Understanding the connection between art and mental health
- Encourages creative thinking
Practising traditional Indian art styles encourages creative thinking and problem solving skills for both kids and adults. Indian art styles have traditionally been very flexible and being able to think for yourself stimulates the brain in a similar way as learning a new language.
“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” — Kurt Vonnegut.
- Promotes healthy self-esteem
Being able to successfully create your own traditional Indian art gives a feeling of accomplishment for both adults and children, thereby boosting self-esteem. The connection between art and mental health is such that it boosts dopamine levels, improving concentration, increasing drive and providing that feel good factor.
It’s not important to create masterpieces to get these benefits, just enjoying the activity is more than enough to get the mental health benefits of art. The connection between art and mental health helps create new neural pathways in the brain that can prevent depression, slows down aging and improves your overall well-being.
- Helps make long lasting memories
Creating art can enhance your cognitive abilities and memory and can be very beneficial for people with serious brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The link between art and mental health not only improves the quality of life for such patients but also promotes cell growth in the brain, becomes a source of pleasure and increases connectivity.
- Combats loneliness
There might be a perception that practicing art can be a lonely process. After all, there is a misconception that artists do their best work in solitude, away from prying eyes and are quite reclusive. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Practicing traditional Indian art, especially with Rooftop’s workshops and maestro courses are very interactive and helps participants feel a part of a close-knit community. It promotes a sense of belonging, gives a feeling of accomplishment and drives excellence with the culture that has been created.
- Benefits in education
There is increased evidence published in top, peer-reviewed journals about the measurable benefits in relation to art and mental health, especially with regards to academic performance and developing innovative thinking. However, mainstream education continues to sideline art. Despite the millions of years of evolution, human beings have a natural instinct to create and practicing traditional Indian art is now more accessible than ever before through the Rooftop app.
Mental health issues affect nearly half of the global population at some point by the age of 40 and with the recent challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, that figure is expected to go higher. The interconnectedness of art and mental health creates conditions for mindfulness by engaging different parts of the brain. The activity has been found to be an effective tool for managing mental health, improving confidence and coping skills as well as having a calming effect on participants. Art provides a medium to help participants express feelings that cannot be articulated in words and that in itself makes it an invaluable activity!
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