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Art’s Effect On Depression

Famous textile artist Anni Albers once described art as something that allows you to breathe with a different kind of happiness. She was not further from the truth; considering art therapy is a thing.

Research suggests that art therapy is effective in treating mental health issues such as depression. It is also effective for PTSD, anxiety, and even phobias. Creating art has several effects on depression. For instance, it can help a patient express what they feel when they can’t find the words.

Put in simple words, depression art therapy is the use of art in a therapeutic context. It is effective against depression for the following reasons:

Through art, you can express what you feel

Opening up to a stranger, especially about your dark and deep emotions, can be difficult. So, instead of speaking up, you suppress your feelings and put on a smile. Yet you are experiencing internal turmoil.

In depression art therapy, you need not express your feelings using words. It is you, a piece of canvas, or a lump of clay, your creativity, and your feelings. Even something as simple as scribbling can help express what you are feeling. After you express what you are feeling through art, you can release a dark thought or even start a conversation about it.

Simply because you can’t talk about something doesn’t mean you can’t express it. Art therapy supports the process of expressing your emotions when you can’t do it through words.

Art promotes mindfulness

One of the ways of managing stress and anxiety is mindfulness. Like meditation, creating art trains your mind to remain calm.


This immersive and creative process requires a clear and calm mind. You also need to focus on details, which draws your mind to the present – you stop worrying about the future. Furthermore, creating art increases your attention span. That prevents your mind from wandering to worrying thoughts.

Art focuses on creation rather than destruction

Depression and anxiety elicit destructive thoughts and emotions such as worry and fear. However, the process of art creation is the opposite of destruction. Creating art provides your mind with something to focus on. It roots you in the present. It means your mind stops to focus on negative emotions and unhelpful thoughts.

Art is rewarding

Art is as emotionally rewarding as it is enjoyable. That alone is enough to improve the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. However, art helps more by creating feelings of self-worth and self-appreciation. You can experience these feelings with any form of art. These include;

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpting
  • Molding
  • And Textiles.

However, research suggests that clay molding is particularly helpful to victims of trauma and abuse. Molding is tactile and physical in nature. Therefore, it provides an opportunity for both emotional and physical relief.

Art creates happiness


Whether creating or observing it, art helps boost your mood. It does that by eliciting the senses of awe and wonder. These senses trigger the release of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, such as dopamine. In fact, brain activity, when we see art is like brain activity when we feel love.

So, aside from the satisfaction of creating something, art will make you happier.


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