Creating art, regardless of skill is one of the greatest favors you can do for yourself. There are countless benefits to creating. For a very long time I told myself that I could not be an artist. I was a science and math kid. So for some reason I decided that meant creativity was incompatible. Hindsight is 20/20, because that mentality is so ridiculous to me now.
Creating art, even if you are “bad” at it, benefits our brains. Even if you are not the “artsy” type I highly recommend taking up a creative hobby or two.
For me, I find enjoyment in writing, digital art, and photography. Every now and then I like to take to the paint and canvas. I’m the farthest thing from Picasso, but that doesn’t matter. Here are just 6 reasons why you should start creating:
1. Stress Relief
Many studies show a link between creating art and lower cortisol levels. In as little as 45 minutes drawing, painting, knitting, whatever it may be, you can reap the anxiety reducing benefits of creating art.
The repetitive motion of many artistic hobbies calms the mind. It also provides the perfect distraction for mind gnawing thoughts.
Sometimes we need an escape from our mind. Negative thoughts play on repeat and we can’t drown out the noise. Altering focus to an art project can greatly reduce anxiety. Art gives us a way to funnel our thoughts into a positive space.
In a study with college students, 47 freshman students participated in an art class before finals. Students who participated in free form painting reported lower stress levels prior to final examinations.
So next time you’re feeling stressed out and have a problem you can’t solve in the moment, try creating something.
Making art releases endorphins. Similar to the stress reducing benefit, artistic hobbies can distract from negative thinking.
In fact, mental health therapists regularly use art therapy for patients suffering from depression. Art transforms our thoughts from negative and distracting to positive and fruitful.
When our minds whirl with loud thoughts, a calming distraction from the noise can be as simple as writing a story, knitting a scarf, or painting a favorite landscape.
Writing, especially journaling or creative journaling has additional benefits for fighting depression.
Writing through problems can sometimes help us solve problems. Creative problems require creative solutions.
We learn more about our wants, needs, and desires when we create. We get to know our inner self and can meet our needs through the creative process.
3. Increased Focus
Our high school teachers were wrong to stop us from doodling in class. In a study, the participants split into two groups. One group was instructed to doodle during a lecture while the other half sat and listened. The doodle group retained 29 percent more information than the non doodlers.
Our minds wander. Even simple sketches in a notepad keep our mind centralized and we absorb information with greater ease. If your sketches relate to what you listen to, the results improve even more.
I’m the type of person to have a million thoughts a minute, all at once. I greatly appreciate this aspect of creating. It gives me clarity when I can’t sort my thoughts. If I write my problems down, for instance, I can better focus on one problem at a time. Then I can finally reach solutions.
4. Connects Pathways in the Brain
Making art creates connections in the brain. For people with dementia, art is an excellent therapy to improve their quality of life. Art helps preserve their sense of self and recreate their memories. Dance and music positively impact dementia and alzheimer patients the most.
Even if you don’t have dementia, creating art benefits the mind. It improves memory. Creating art allows us to access parts of the mind that we normally don’t. It allows us to get to know ourselves on a deeper level. Our subconscious comes out when we create.
I’ve surprised myself from time to time when painting or drawing. It gives me an opportunity to analyze problems I may not have realized before, and it offers me a healthy way to work through the problem.
5. Sense of Accomplishment Helps Confidence
You don’t have to be a professional artist to reap the benefits of creativity. The act of creating something tangible triggers the reward center of the brain. It feels good to make things. That sense of accomplishment boosts self confidence.
The more you create, the better you eventually become. That feeling of getting better and mastering a skill feels awesome. If you create something you are proud of, hang it up, wear it, whatever is appropriate for the art you create.
6. You Become Happier
Kind of an obvious one if you’ve read this far. If taking up an artistic hobby reduces stress, alleviates depression, increases focus and memory, and offers a sense of accomplishment, then of course making art makes you happy.
Our mental health is so important. When we try to become our best selves, we so often turn to the physical body. We search diet blogs and fitness blogs to try and become healthier. While that is also so important, we can’t be fully healthy until our mind is there too. We must not ignore our most important organ.
Feeling down? Draw a picture. Write a poem. Create a scarf. Sing a song. It’s not a cure all, but there are so many great benefits to art.
It really doesn’t matter what you create or how you do it. Adopting a creative hobby reaps so many benefits. Plus the more you do it, the better you eventually become. If you’re an art newbie, I recommend some beginner’s blogs posts about a couple different art hobbies. These are not affiliate links nor am I paid for these recommendations. I just came across them in my searches and thought I would share. 🙂