How creative arts therapy helps us live better

June 29, 2016 | by Linda Conlin

Have you ever noticed how doing an activity you enjoy can calm you down? From listening to music on the drive home from work to scrapbooking or creating a photo collage, there are a variety of things you can do to unwind and reduce stress after a long day. The creative arts has an even greater purpose for people struggling with an ongoing health issue.

The National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations, Inc. says those who have experienced trauma or have mental health needs, developmental disabilities, substance abuse problems or chronic illnesses can all benefit from using art as a coping mechanism.

People with cancer are using creative arts therapy to manage the emotional and psychological challenges of a diagnosis and treatment — and it’s helping in more ways than one. Creative art therapy helps cancer patients — and all of us — to:

  • Express ourselves
  • Reduce stress and tension
  • Be more self-aware
  • Solve problems
  • Manage feelings often trapped inside
  • Feel better about ourselves
  • Stimulate the mind and senses
  • Imagine the impossible

Whether you are looking for a distraction from cancer or just want a creative outlet, there are a variety of activities you can do to express yourself and calm your mind. Take a sculpture or ceramics class, color in an adult coloring book, take up journaling, photograph scenic areas of town, try a new recipe, take a dance class or play an instrument. There activities you can do at home, too.

It doesn’t stop there. There’s even more you can do to express yourself. Here’s a list of 100 art therapies to relax your mind, body and soul.

Feeling like you aren’t creative enough? An art therapist can help give you direction. Art therapists work with individuals of all ages, using expressive art therapy to improve mental well-being. Trained in both therapy and art, there are many requirements that art therapists need to complete before being certified.

Don’t be afraid you will do something “wrong.” With creative arts therapy, there is no wrong way. Just try to focus on expressing yourself and your individuality through the creative process.

How do you use art therapy? Tell us in the below comments.

Learn more about healing arts at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

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