Art and mental health during times of stress: Using art to heal

Courtesy of Riddhi Jani

Throughout the last five years, I have used art many times to help when grieving for an immediate family member. I found art to be a major facilitator of healing, especially during the ongoing pandemic.

Art is an immersive practice that not only helps you de-stress, but also helps take your mind off anxieties you may have. Mental health and grief are difficult things to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Thus, having something like art to help manage it can be comforting.

Art is a healthy way to express yourself and your feelings because working with your hands can give you something to focus on rather than grief or mental health problems. In this way, it can work wonders for anyone who has experienced trauma. It helps you process what you have been through by allowing a space to pour your emotions into when creating something that spectacularly explores the root of your experience.

And with that, you can be proud of what you create.

Instead of holding your feelings inside, expressing them in an artistic medium allows you to focus on the masterpiece you are creating. It is pure euphoria when something beautiful and picturesque is born out of painful experiences because it adds depth and deeper meaning to the work while operating as an outlet.

Participating in any form of art may help you. One artform in particular I find extremely therapeutic is painting — you could be painting anything from a scene to creating an abstract work on canvas. Whenever I paint, my thoughts and anxieties dissolve from my mind and my focus remains on the work that is unfolding before me.

Anyone who tries to use art as a facilitator for healing will not be disappointed.

Seeing an art therapist can be extremely useful in the healing process. According to the article “How Art Can Heal,” published in American Scientistby Girija Kaimal, “Art therapists guide people in connecting or reconnecting with the creative practices that support mental health, and help people to grapple with life challenges and uncertainties. Art therapy clinicians focus on the process of making rather than the artistic product, which allows our clients to gain insights about their situations and develop inner emotional resilience.”

Kaimal explains that we don’t have to make a piece of art that belongs in an art gallery, rather we need to focus on the art of making a unique piece that is special to our healing process.

Art therapy is certainly a special form of healing we should all try at some point in our lives. An outlet, whatever it may be, allows us more time to focus on bettering ourselves. What better time to try it than during the pandemic?

About the Author

By Isabella Iacoucci


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