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How art can reduce anxiety and depression

Aug 12, 2019 by

As many as 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression, while anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness in the US, with depression not far behind. Depression is also a leading cause of disability worldwide and can be a big problem for people who are living with long-term pain conditions. In some cases, it can be difficult to pinpoint where the problem began – did the pain trigger the depression or vice versa? This is in particular for people who may be living with an undiagnosed pain condition. 

Looking after body and mind

If you are suffering with pain and muscle aches then using a massager can be a great complementary therapy to offer relief from symptoms, and while massage can help with the physical symptoms, there are a range of other therapeutic services out there that can help people manage the symptoms of depression and anxiety that may come about as a result of another illness. 

One such therapeutic service is art therapy, which is a form of psychotherapy that has been proven to greatly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. This article will take a brief look at how art therapy could help.

The benefits of immersing yourself in the creative process

While depression and anxiety can be destructive to someone’s well-being, the process of creation can help people feel calm, inspired and create a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. Being immersed in the creative process – whether it be painting, drawing a picture, writing poetry, creating music, or creating a sculpture – helps to relieve stress, inspire feelings of calm and clear the mind. 

Achieving ‘flow state’

This is especially true once you have entered a state of flow with the creative process. This can last for many hours, and the longer it lasts the better, as during this time you are training your mind to be able to focus and concentrate better, and by tuning into the finer details of your artwork, you are teaching yourself to become more mindful in the present moment. Not sure what art to make? Why not try drawing your own hand? There is a lot of detail involved even in the simplest art that will put you in the state of concentration.

On the contrary, feelings of anxiety and depression can have a powerful hold over us, taking us away from the present moment and filling the mind with all sorts of worries and concerns often related to the past or the future. In this way, the creative process is a natural remedy to the destruction that depression and anxiety can cause in our lives.

Staying active and appreciating the grout outdoors

It is widely known that staying active and spending time outdoors can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as help people keep on top of a pain condition or other physical illnesses. Studies have shown that getting outside and going for a walk can help reduce inflammation which causes pain, muscle soreness and fatigue. 

Combining the two and creating art outside, for example sketching or painting a landscape or even just coloring in a picture, will help to magnify the reduction of depression and anxiety as well as boosting your mood, helping eliminate fatigue and providing a natural source pain relief. 

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