Read along about the benefits of creativity on the brain, and specifically the effects that painting could have on mental health.
Writing, dancing, acting, reading, and painting are just some of the creative endeavors that serve two purposes at the same time: first, one surely enjoys doing them, and second, there are some benefits that these activities can provide to the mind, according to science. Maybe you’ll want to include more creative projects into your life after reading this article.
Boosting our creative capacity
As humans, we are born with the inherent ability of creativity. The hard part of this understanding comes when we must recognize the characteristic in ourselves.
Then again, we can find our creative capacity in lots of activities! Say drawing, writing, poetry reading or crafting, to name a few, are all pursuits that require us to work on and build creativity.
With this in mind, one could say that cultivating our creative side is like getting some mental training. The results of this exercise come in the form of patience and perseverance, an increased sense of pride, and developed motor skills. Even an increase in one’s social interactions could take place, depending on the activity.
On top of that, creativity directs our focus to a specific activity, which encourages the body to lower stress and relax muscles, all while increasing self-esteem and productivity.
In search of “flow”
Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is one of the pioneers of the scientific study of happiness and author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990). He describes the term flow as the state of consciousness one gets into when being so engaged in a creative task that he or she achieves satisfaction.
Staying in flow means being so immersed and focused on a particular activity, especially one that involves creative abilities, that the sense of time as well as stressful thoughts disappear.
Along with these calming benefits, the state of flow can help regulate strong emotions and calm the nervous system. According to research, this makes flow especially beneficial for people with depression or anxiety, as it may work as a natural antidepressant by improving mood.
Reaching flow is done through any activity with a repetitive motion like swimming or running. However, creative activities like knitting or painting are better to achieve the state, as an even higher level of focus is required to complete them.
How painting enhances our health
We see painting as just an entertaining hobby, but did you know it assists in keeping your mind active while delivering other health benefits?
Here are six ways in which this activity may enhance your overall quality of life:
1. Encourages stress relief: Painting is an emotional release activity that allows the mind to relax for a while. This low-stress level improves overall mental health.
2. Improves artistic growth: We have thought for years that painting is just for right-brain people. But left-brainers also can stimulate and acquire creative abilities by practice, therefore encouraging artistic growth.
3. Strengthens memory: Painting boosts memory skills since it may help sharpen the mind through conceptual visualization and implementation. Writing and drawing also have this benefit on the brain.
4. Develops problem-solving and motor skills: Taking decisions and finding solutions to different outcomes that may occur during the process, are ways in which painting helps develop critical thinking skills. Also, a painter increases specific mobility in the hands and fingers, thus developing motor skills.
5. Supports emotional growth: When painting, you pour out emotions and different moods through artwork, therefore understanding how to express a certain feeling through art.
6. Inspires an optimistic attitude: Being relaxed is a safe space for creativity and achieving a creative goal provides oneself with pride and happiness.
Time to start painting
Overall, keeping a healthy mind and body is essential to living life to the fullest. It’s certainly good to know that it is never too late to immerse ourselves in a new interest in life.
Finding an activity that is good for you while granting happiness may be challenging. But here it is! Immerse into painting and begin a hobby that could help you develop well-being, no matter your age.
This article is the second in a series of three. In the last one, we will analyze a study on how art could help reduce cortisol levels.