Enjoying Art to Strengthen our Mentality
People across the world are increasingly viewing mental health management as an important part of our lives. The ongoing pandemic has reminded all of us that self-care is a necessary part of our routine. The increased time spent at home has led more people to engage in new activities in order to decompress. Everyone, from art connoisseurs to novices, has engaged with art in some way during this time. Whether it was making time to create art, visiting virtual exhibitions, or even trying adult colouring books. For many, art has become a means of much-needed relaxation and is an indispensable part of strengthening our mental health.
Art therapy has a long tradition of helping people express themselves. Developed in the 1940s, art therapy invites people to draw, paint and sculpt. When patients reflect on their work, they often gain an insight into their subconscious or repressed emotions. Equally, taking the time to create, frequently helps those undergoing art therapy to relax.
A much more recent trend which builds on art therapy is adult colouring books. These books have been popular for some time, however, during the pandemic they were more in demand than ever. Colouring is a great self-care activity, and whilst it may conjure images from childhood, it is anything but juvenile. Adult colouring books are more complex and cover a variety of artists and themes, from Hokusai to The Great British Bake Off! They have also been proven to help people decompress. A study from the University of Otago reported that those who coloured daily displayed fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, colouring allows those who are less confident with free drawing to relax through art and bring their own twist and individual flair to their favourite works.
Beyond the realm of creating art, perhaps the biggest change many of us had to make during the pandemic was no longer being free to visit museums and galleries. Virtual exhibitions allowed ‘visitors’ to continue to enjoy the experience of viewing and reflecting on art. Equally, as more exhibitions across the globe became virtual, art became more accessible, and more people were able to find the time to ‘visit’ previously unreachable collections. Seeing art, whether it be in person or virtually, ignites a conversation about the exhibit but also the experience of a virtual exhibition, which can help us to express ourselves, our thoughts and ponder new topics. Art is an inherently social activity, which meant even during periods of extreme isolation, people could come together, virtually, to peruse and discuss art, and feel a sense of belonging and normality.
By creating and enjoying art, we can strengthen our mental health. Art helps us to express and understand ourselves, to relax, escape the world, and to engage and socialize with others.
To explore some new artists and ponder their works, take a look at our TiA artist pages.