5 Benefits of Using Creative Arts for Wellbeing as a Parent
Ever wonder how your creative expression can benefit you emotionally? Creative arts uses visual art expression, music, movement, dance, writing, journaling and more as modalities for personal healing and transformation. It’s about the process not about the product. Children understand this intuitively, without consciously realizing what they are achieving. When we leave our childhood behind, we often forget how important these tools are to keeping the sparks of joy, peace, and resilience alive.
No previous art experience is necessary to reap the gains from engaging in the creative arts. Creativity is an innate human quality. Intentionally accessing it gives way to a myriad of benefits. Ultimately it supports radiant living in which you are shining your own unique light into the world.
The creative arts is a powerful tool for psycho-social, physical, and spiritual wellness. In a 2017 Drexel University study published in The Arts in Psychotherapy it was shown that there is a neurological benefit of engaging in drawing, coloring, or simple doodling.
It was found that these art activities increased blood flow circulation in the prefrontal cortex area of the brain that is correlated with pleasure. This releases dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter responsible for increasing feelings of joy.
So, those adult coloring books that are out there in a plethora find one and bring out your colors to create more joy in your life. You can even carve out time to do your own drawing or arts and crafts alongside your little ones.
Here are 5 additional emotional and neurobiological benefits of engaging in a creative arts activity.
1. Lower Stress
Stress is a part of daily life, and finding healthy ways to navigate it is imperative to one’s overall wellbeing. Adopting certain rhythms and rituals for the transition time between work and home life can be an important way to decrease stress.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association revealed that there was a reduction in cortisol levels, which is implicated in stress, after a period of engaging in visual art making. Thus, the act of creating through visual arts can produce a sense of calm and have a positive effect on a neurobiological level.
2. Relieve Anxiety
There have been several studies that have indicated that coloring inside a geometric shape such as a mandala is linked to decreasing anxiety. Using this coloring process as a way to practice mindfulness and being in the ‘now’ in a non-judgmental, accepting way has a positive impact on one’s mood. You may download mandala coloring pages off the internet or purchase a mandala coloring book.
Using this as an anxiety management tool is a practical and creative way to invite more serenity into your inner world. To create a habit of this, aim to engage in mandala coloring for 20 minutes on a regular basis.
3. Supports Processing Feelings
Expressing your inner landscape of feelings through lines, shapes, and colors can be quite cathartic and an avenue to process emotions that come up throughout your day. In my expressive arts therapy and coaching practice, I invite clients to either keep a ‘scribble drawing’ journal or adopt art journaling as a means to express emotions in a healthy way.
In the ‘scribble drawing’ journal, you chose colors to represent feelings. It can serve as a way to track your mood in a visual log. Art journaling is a mixed media process, and there are so many wonderful ideas on Pinterest for art journaling. Get your creative groove on and cultivate more of the feeling states that you desire in your daily life.
4. Aids in developing new insights
Self-awareness and insight are the precursors to change. It starts with a revelatory thought, and this sets the groundwork for getting unstuck and altering old patterns no longer serving you. Through the visual arts, there is an opportunity to externalize the internal. This allows for a different angle to be explored and to resolve any ambivalence one has about change.
Meaning can be unfolded from both the process and the product created. It supports personal development and moving closer to becoming emotionally unburdened, wherein you may experience more freedom.
5. Promotes whole-brain reparation & wellness
Unlike talk therapy which relies primarily on the left-brain function, art-based activities activate other areas of the brain and integrate right and left-brain hemispheres. Often with trauma the emotional limbic system of the brain gets flooded, and the frontal cortex goes offline making it difficult to verbalize in a narrative fashion.
With the creative arts, there is another language that tells the story which paves the way for healing. Engaging in these types of activities promotes an overall sense of well-being. Start a creative self-care practice today and notice the result.
As there are many benefits from the creative arts, exploring this as an avenue to support optimal wellness can be a big step towards self-care. Decide today to adopt a creative arts self-care habit and notice what this may yield for you. This is a key component of Radiant Living as a busy parent. It is giving yourself permission to live your life in color where you sparkle and shine.