Want proof of the health benefits of art? Consider artist Georgia O’Keefe was still creating charcoal drawings two years before she died… at the age of 98.
Incorporating art into your life can bring tremendous health benefits including reducing stress, increasing brain activity, and in some cases it can also help memory-loss patients. But, it’s not just adults who can benefit, education experts say art helps children succeed in school by encouraging critical-thinking and socialization.
Art reduces stress.
When we are stressed, we produce a high amount of cortisol. An abundance of cortisol can lead to weight gain, sleeplessness, and weaken our ability to fight off infection. Art calms the brain down by allowing it to focus on one thing. Here are some suggestions to get those creative juices flowing:
- Buy an adult-coloring book.
- Visit a museum or art gallery.
- Sign up for an art class like pottery, painting or photography.
- Plan a family night or girls’ night out at a DIY pottery store.
- Try dancing in your living room or signing up for dance classes/lessons.
Art encourages you to think better.
All day long we are required to handle situations that have one outcome and one way to finish the task. Art is not an exact science so it allows us freedom to explore and use a different part of our brain. Art is also a great self-esteem boost; seeing a finished project is very satisfying and joyful.
Art keeps your body healthy and active.
Medical experts have suggested art can have many short and long-term benefits on Alzheimer’s patients. Creating a drawing or painting can sometimes trigger positive memories and it also allows the patient to practice cognitive skills. Listening to music is also beneficial. Music can be soothing and provide a jumping off point for conversations. The National Center for Creative Aging’s website is a great resource and provides a state by state listing of arts programs around the U.S. that are geared towards older adults.
Dance classes are a wonderful way for anyone to stay healthy. Studies show Parkinson’s patients who were taught to dance were able to improve their balance. Dance is also great for the social aspect. Finally, moving can have an effect on weight loss.
Creativity helps kids.
Nowadays, kids’ schedules are often over-planned and crowded, leaving them little time to be a kid. Art classes are also often the first to suffer when it comes to budget cuts in schools. Studies show kids who participate in art projects are better critical-thinkers and have calmer personalities. They are also better problem solvers and have more positive outlooks. To encourage your little Picasso, find new and fun ways to help them be creative:
- Take a trip to a hobby store. Let them pick a project.
- Have art supplies at home. Designate an area in your home for creative work. Buy paints, crayons, pencils and paper and just let them loose.
- Sign them up for art classes at youth centers or after-school programs.
- Consider an arts-camp for the summer or drama classes during the school year.
Art is crucial to your mental and physical well-being. It can have a lasting impact and create a more beautiful, healthier, and longer life.
For other ways to incorporate art into a healthy lifestyle as well as tips to lead a healthier life, be sure to watch “Your Health” on YurView Arizona on Cox Channel 4.
Watch the full episode of Your Health here: