Depression and Art
Depression is a lingering feeling of sadness and loss of interest that prevents you from carrying out the normal activities of life. While the conventional method of treating depression, such as meditation and talk therapy are still in use and quite effective for many people around the world, a much newer alternative method of art therapy is quickly gaining fame – and not without good reason.
The phrase “art therapy” was first introduced by the late British artist, Adrian Hill, who found painting to be particularly therapeutic while recovering from tuberculosis. He believed art to have healing effects because it releases a patient’s creative energy.
People suffering from depression find it hard to put their feelings into words. They are likely feeling pressured or overwhelmed. That’s where art therapy comes into play as it offers you an easy way (drawing) to express yourself, thereby allowing you to process your feelings and monitor your behaviour.
Improves Mood and Boost Happiness
Art creation is the work of creativity within yourself and when you let out your creative energy, you are bound to experience a certain degree of mood lift, that, in turn, allows you to convert your negative feelings and emotions into positive ones.
Furthermore, creating art results in the production of a chemical called dopamine, whose inadequate amount in the human brain – according to studies – is one of the main reasons for depression. Dopamine is said to be the driving force behind our willingness to do things that we like, and that willpower comes when we are happy and satisfied with ourselves.
A depressed person is unable to think clearly and feels stressed all the time. As a result, he/she can negatively affect his body and mind.
Through Art Creation, you can let out all your emotions (like fear and sadness, which are harder to portray through words) and negative thoughts on canvas, thereby nullifying the negative effects and feeling more relaxed.
For nearly half of the people, depression and anxiety come hand in hand. Whatever public or private trauma has pushed you into the state of depression, it is likely to induce anxiety in you from time to time.
Numerous researches such as the one conducted by researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands shows that creative engagement that art therapy features, reduces anxiety and allows you to channel your positive feelings.
Art Therapy essentially allows you to transform your intangible feelings and emotions into a physical form. To express yourself, you inevitably have to creep within your deepest thoughts and memories. Any positive thought or memory that you encounter this way will allow you to see that you’re much more than your depressed self.
Moreover, with the help of a professional art therapist, you can find out valuable bits of information in your own artwork. Whatever you get to recognize new things about yourself this way, it might prove to be decisive in your battle against depression.
One of the major causes of depression is the lack of self-belief. By creating a piece of artwork, you get a particular feeling of self-accomplishment, which is invaluable for enhancing your self-esteem.
Note that you don’t have to be a skilled artist to be able to reinvigorate your self-esteem, you just have to be true to yourself and your emotions.
Karen Usborne’s Abstract Art
Similar to art-making, a visit to an art gallery or a museum also serves to counteract depression and has a positive impact on your health and well-being.
Karen Usborne is a contemporary, London-based artist whose work largely boasts abstract expressionism. You can view her original masterpieces in her online art shop and even commission your own piece for decorating your place of business or home.