The Benefits of Artmaking

“The medical profession has come a long way in recognizing the healing benefits of art. My hope is that someday the arts will be considered as significant in everyone’s lives as breathing fresh air, eating clean foods, and performing physical exercise.” ~ Renee Phillips, author of Art in Healthcare

In the last ten years, there has been considerable research documenting the health benefits of making art as well as the positive impact it has on cognitive functioning. Creating art increases the “feel good” neurotransmitter dopamine, sometimes referred to as the ‘motivation molecule’. Dopamine stimulates the creation of new neurons and prepares the brain for learning. It has been shown that the activity of artmaking produces both new neural pathways and causes the brain to continue to reshape, adapt and restructure. What this means is that the potential to increase brain reserve capacity is expanded. You don’t have to be good at drawing or painting, for example, in order to enjoy its benefits. You just have to immerse yourself in the experience. The psychological benefits have also been well researched and they include:

  • decreasing depression and anxiety
  • helping individuals to relax
  • providing a sense of control
  • offering opportunities for social interaction
  • fostering a stronger sense of self
  • boosting self esteem

Consider reading the following articles to expand your understanding of the numerous benefits of spending some of your time developing some new artistic skills, even if this is not something you’ve done before. You do not need any particular talent to reap the benefits of pursuing this possibility.

The Mental Health Benefits of Art Are For Everyone by Deane Alban

How Artmaking Lightens the Burden of Depression by Lola Rasminsky C.M.

Aging: What’s Art Got to Do With It? by Barbara Bagan Phd.