Wellness Series: Music and Art

Happy Friday. Hope you all are surviving the heat of July. This week we are discussing the benefits of art and music. Music and art both have very beneficial impacts on our mental health.  We can have a surge of improvement in our attitude with uplifting music and doing art projects. However, it can at times cause a negative effect, so to speak, depending on what we chose to listen to or what we choose to create.

Positive aspects of art on mental health

Art at any age is beneficial. Children love creating and learning to draw, and paint is so exciting for them and encourages creativity. As we age, art can be an outlet for us to relieve a multitude of things like stress and pain. Statistics show that emotional pain can be greatly reduced when an individual engages in art of any form. The cortisol levels within our brains are reduced when engaged in art thus reducing our stress level and helping us to clear our mind. Psychology Today has a great article related to the study of cortisol related to creating art. 

Another positive effect that art can have on an individual is the reduction of anxiety and nervousness. Take coloring for instance. Your focus is on one piece of paper and the biggest issue that you might encounter is deciding which color to use. A little stress such as deciding on a color is healthy and has a positive effect. When focusing on the coloring page your body slows. Your breathing begins to slow, your thoughts begin to slow, and the racing feeling that is often felt when having anxiety and nervousness begins to calm.

Music is a wonderful way to calm anxiety and stress while at the same time releasing the negative and harmful toxins within our bodies. Music has been known to help with a variety of medical and mental health issues such as depression, trauma, and even schizophrenia. It is so helpful as a calming agent so to speak for these issues. Music is also known to improve cognitive ability. Listening to music while studying or testing can improve retainment 10-fold  I think that we can all relate to those good feelings when a really good song comes on the radio and we tend to sing and dance along. I am sure that I am not alone in that, right! It improves my mood for sure.

Expressions through art and music

Art and music allow us to express ourselves. We can express ourselves in ways that at times we may not have words for.  Maybe we do not want to talk about our feelings, but we are able to express our thoughts and feelings through art and music. Having a private release method can be so helpful when dealing with challenging and trying times. You get to choose what music you like and at times your choice of music may change depending on your mood or your current situation.  Learning to play an instrument can be a challenge but challenges are good in that it helps you to have a specific thing to focus on, learn, and practice. Also, the same goes for learning how to paint or draw. Concentration on positive things is very beneficial for improving brain function and even helps with memory.

Ideas for Art & Music

For those of you that already use art and music as an outlet I encourage you to advance your skills or challenge yourself to something new. This can help with continued engagement and prevents something from becoming stale, so to speak. I have listed below some thoughts and activities that might help in getting started or continuing your journey with art and music.

  • Turn on your favorite music and sing along – LOUDLY!
  • Get a special book just to doodle in
  • Listen to a new style of music for one hour and then think about your thoughts related to that music.
  • Learn to draw, paint, or play an instrument. (YouTube is a great resource for learning new skills and even step-by-step drawing!)
  • Try different things to understand what art or music helps in relieving stress. (If learning to paint causes you to become more stressed then that is probably not a good stress reliever for you)
  • Listen to music while you paint or draw
  • Start a Kindness Rock group – Paint rocks and hide them around your town to make others smile. 
  • Just sit, be still, be aware of the tension in your body, relax, and listen to calm music.

Try something new! You might just be surprised that you like it. I hope that you all have a very blessed week and stay safe.

Be GREAT this week!