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Art and Healing: It's Therapeutic

Updated on January 17, 2018
cclitgirl profile image

Cynthia is a writer, artist, and teacher. She loves studying language, arts, and culture, and sharing that knowledge.

A winter silhouette photo I snapped recently in Western North Carolina.
A winter silhouette photo I snapped recently in Western North Carolina. | Source

Art is Therapy

I am an artist. I work with photography, painting, and drawing. I wanted to offer my own perspective as to why I find such importance with the work that I do.

For me, I'm not an art therapist, but the benefits of doing art and creating something far outweigh the reasons not to.

I believe if everyone took the time to create - art, music, crafts, writing, or otherwise - we would all have a little more balance and the benefits would carry over to many areas of our lives.

In this hub, I'll list several personal reasons why art is such a healing and therapeutic practice and I hope it will inspire you to create more!

Art is Meditative

Have you ever noticed that when you sit down to do a drawing, write, do some poetry, sculpture, photography or any other artistic endeavor, your mind clears?

Even gardening is an artistic practice: you're "painting a canvas" with plants.

It's as if the very act of creating something makes you automatically focus on what you're doing.

This is why I have come to think of art as a very meditative practice.

Let's say you're doing a painting (I use this as an example, because this is part of what I do for a living).

When I approach a new painting, I make a new canvas (which is a fun process), and plan out the image in my head. Sometimes I will draw it out, sometimes I'll use an inspirational photo that I took, but mostly, the image forms in my head.

I think about all the things I love when it comes to artwork. The lines, shapes, colors, spaces, textures.

I think about how I'll use all those elements to create my painting.

What's amazing about that is I don't think about the monthly bills, other noises, or any other stressful situations that I might be experiencing.

I just think about creating and what I'm going to do with my paintbrush.

Still, as I paint, there's a wisping sound the brush makes as it strikes the canvas. There's the sound of the paint as I squirt it onto my palette. Normally, I am not aware of these sounds, but I become aware as I work and stare at my creation.

Do You Create?

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I didn't plan this painting out, other than the fact that I knew it was going to be leaves.  It's one part of two pieces that make up a piece called "Winter Leaf Fire Dance."
I didn't plan this painting out, other than the fact that I knew it was going to be leaves. It's one part of two pieces that make up a piece called "Winter Leaf Fire Dance." | Source

Art Allows You to Create Without Methodical and Logical Thinking

This is not to say that there isn't a process, a routine and steps you need to take to create a work of art.

However, the creation process is a chance to step out of the normal, methodical repetitions that characterize many modern societies today.

You can enter your own world and create your own rules.

Because you do this, sometimes your work won't turn out exactly as you'd like, but part of the fun is being able to go back and either re-work it (as in a painting) or figure out a way to work with what you have (as in a sculpture or even a photo).

You can let loose!

I look at many scenes and objects and think, "how will I draw that?"
I look at many scenes and objects and think, "how will I draw that?" | Source

Doing Artwork Infuses Your Life With Creativity

When you set aside time to create, other things start to happen in your life.

You start to approach unrelated situations in a creative and different way.

This has happened to me many times as I've begun to do art and photography more and more in my own life.

Suddenly, mountain vistas become a potential photo opportunity.

At work, a normally mundane project can take on a creative slant only because my brain is working more with the right hemisphere, which tends to be the side associated with creativity.

Home remodeling projects become more interesting as you work to figure out how to creatively map out a new bathroom or bedroom.

The way you drive, or cook, or pick out your wardrobe all have the possibility of benefiting from a higher level of creativity - all because thinking creatively lets you think about something from a different angle.

Doing Artwork Relieves Stress

I know from personal experience that when I am feeling the effects of stress, I can go for a walk and begin snapping photos. I breathe in the fresh air.

Or, I can take up a paintbrush and start creating. The act of doing that is such a great stress-reliever because you can't dwell on the stress: you have to think about what you're painting.

Have you ever noticed that children and even teenagers will often express themselves through artwork, poetry, music or something similar when they're stressed?

I believe we humans have a need to express ourselves. What better way to channel our stress than through something we make?

© 2013 Cynthia Calhoun

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    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      3 months ago from Western NC

      Cathy - thank you so much! I hope you're well! Glad you found this interesting and nice to be acquainted with you here on HP. ;)

    • creativetouchart profile image

      Cathy Fidelibus - Creative Touch Art 

      4 months ago from New Jersey

      Cynthia, great hub! I agree with everything you said. Very interesting read can totally relate to it. Thank you - Cathy

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      4 years ago from Western NC

      Kenneth - thank you. :) Thank you for the fan mail. I appreciate the votes and when I can, I'll take a look at your hubs. Cheers!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, cclitgirl,

      A lovely piece of creative writing that displays your natural talent. Great read. Yes, you are an artist. That is every evident. In former days, I loved to sketch people, animals, life events, but somehow I just moved on.

      I like to create my own existence in words.

      Oh, I voted up and away on your hub.

      I left fan mail for you and now following you. Would you check my hubs and be one of my followers?

      If I said "please," would that help???

      Peace.

      K.

      P.S. keep up the great hubs.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Epigramman - oh THANK YOU! I appreciate your kind thoughts and words and the shares. :) Sorry for the delay in responding - I have been busy with graduate courses and haven't been logging in as much. But, please know I appreciate your comments and yes, haha, art is my labor of love. :)

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      5 years ago

      Good afternoon Cyndi from Colin and his cats Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel at lake erie time canada 2:19pm and your glorious testimony and hub presentation reads like a true labor of love.

      I too seek therapy and a creative outlet through my writing of course and I love music of all kinds which definitely influences my poetry.

      I just woke up from night shift sleep with my first cup of coffee and listening to some nice French classical music and I am also influenced by the environment, Mother Nature, and my two cats.

      Love your personalized approach to your writing here and I will post your words for all to see and read on my FB page.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Alocsin - yes, I have thought about doing that myself from time to time, but eh...I like doing my own art and studying Spanish too much, haha.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Art is such a therapeutic and healing practice that there are actual professionals who specialize in this. They're called recreational therapists, and many concentrate on multiple artist media. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Vinaya - thank you so much, friend! I wish you peace, prosperity and happiness in the year ahead, too. :)

      xstatic - wow! That is very cool! I'd love to see photos of those quilts. :) I definitely find stuff like that relaxing and rewarding. :)

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Great Hub Cyndy! It is so true too. When I get engrossed in writing something, all else is in the background. My wife works on the computer on her job here from home. After she finishes her day, she conceptualizes and makes beautiful art quilts. Her last one was of the Parthenon, and took many tries to get the stairs, columns and shadows just right. It is beautiful and she finds it so relaxing and rewarding.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal

      Cyndy,

      you are awesome. I wish you peace, prosperity and happiness on your birthday.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Missolive - what a sweet, thorough, thoughtful and all-around wonderful comment. I can tell you understand exactly what the artistic process means and its importance in the world. You're amazing. I would love to see you working your craft - dance - sometime. :) Keep on keepin' on, friend. :)

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      5 years ago from Texas

      cclitgirl, I thoroughly agree with your hub.

      I have always tied the creative process to my own spiritual awareness. Creativity opens up our mind's eye to all the beauty involved in our respective projects. It can be as simple as the variations of colors in a floral arrangement, the curve of a line in a painting, the shadows in a photograph, the fluidity of a dancer, or even the simplicity of a musician's gaze. I enjoy watching artists mesmerized in the enveloping grip of their own craft, the aesthetic experience is an awesome place to be. Art just seems to make me breathe easier and with greater quality. The unique blend of passion, meditation, awareness and aesthetics can warm many a heart and soothe our complicated minds. With that said, art is nothing less than a deep healing breath for our senses, mind and soul - definitely therapeutic.

      Beautiful hub and perspective, thank you for describing how our brain works and the methodology, very interesting - voted up friend.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Vinaya - yes! Your work is beautiful and your photography is breathtaking. You're simply amazing! :D

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal

      I'm aware about therapeutic value of art. I have attended couple of art workshop. I don't paint, but I love creating artworks in photoshop, and I feel like meditating.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Melanie - that is freakin' tacobliss. I love that you're painting and I really, truly can't wait to see what you're coming up with. :D

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      This was beautiful Cyndi! I completely believe what you're saying here because for the past week I've been painting religiously after work every day. It's what I look forward to the most. My time to turn up the music and get lost in my painting. It's definitely therapeutic for stress...for any type of emotion that you're feeling too. Love this, sharing! :)

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      CrisSp - I'll have to check out your hub! Art is definitely my outlet - either via photography, painting or writing - all three keep me sane. :D It sounds like you're a fellow creative and I appreciate your kind words. May we all keep using our talents for good. :)

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 

      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      This is awesome! You are awesome! I couldn't agree more on your topic and indeed, "what better way to channel our stress than through something we make?" - Damn straight!

      You reminded me of my very first hub "Happiness from Masterpiece to Masterpeace", created during one of my stressful days...days of confusion and holding on to sanity. :) No plugging intended but come and see what I mean. I'm so proud of that masterpeace. My very first on a canvas.

      I love your creativity. Keep up the good work and continue sharing your God given talent with us (and the world).

      Up, pinning and sharing! Cheers to our courage in creativity!

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Michelle - thank you so much! Yes, I agree! Your feedback is so thoughtful and awesome. :)

      Carol - You ARE an artist - and with many talents. :) You really are in a meditative zen state when creating. It's a powerful experience.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      I always say I am a painter...I never quite feel like an artist..I think I shall change this. Great and so true. When you paint you are in a zen arena..Great hub and loved reading it..Voting up and pinning.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Art is so therapeutic...that's why there are trained Art Therapists around for those who need their help. It helps a person connect emotionally. I have a friend who sees one! Thanks for sharing, Cyndi!

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Dianna - thank you for your kind words. Art and therapy certainly go hand in hand. :) I so appreciate you warm comments and words. I hope you have a wonderful day!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I see your talented hand in this post and always enjoy how you create with such flair! I do believe in the use of art as therapy. As a former center director, I employed an art therapist who came once a week to help children create as a way to express themselves. What a difference it made as the year progressed! Voted up and shared.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Audra - hehe, I know, right? It's SO MUCH FUN! I'm an art addict. :) I've experimented with it since I was young. LOL

    • profile image

      AudraLeigh 

      5 years ago

      I like, I LIKE!!!

      So many good thing about this!! This relieves stress for sure! Except when I lose track of my numbers!!!

      I think you hit it on the head with "You can enter your own world and create your own rules."...YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Love ya dear friend!!!

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Rogene - that's awesome! I definitely love what I do and feel very peaceful. :)

    • profile image

      Rogene Robbins 

      5 years ago

      I too am an artist and I find all your points apply to my work.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Tillsontitan (Mary) - yes! A big, wholehearted yes! Thank you for taking the time to share your kind words with me. :) I appreciate the votes, too!

      Faith - thank you again! HUGS!

      Bridalletter - hear, hear! I'm so much better off when I'm creating. :)

      Aviannovice - I aim to find some of those masters, hehe. Thank you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Art has been a stress reliever for centuries. Ask the masters, if you can find them...

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 

      5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      I am with you on that theory. It truly helps me and makes me very happy.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Came back to share.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Art therapy may not be your thing but you've stated it very well here. As you said, regardless of the form of art we choose our dedication to our art is what separates it from the mundane. It is a special time and it is something special we do for ourselves. BTW your artwork here, as always, is beautiful.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Silvertabby - thank you for your response! Yes, I love art journaling, too. I love how indeed there is no right or wrong way. :) Thank you.

      Livingsta - thank you. I appreciate your kind thoughts and words. HUGS

      Joan - oh, my wonderful Joan! Thank you for your words; I can't tell you how much they mean to me. I am taking them to heart. I so feel like I am on the right path. :)

      Faith Reaper - thank you so much. I appreciate so much your kindness, thoughtfulness and words. Many blessings to you!

      Vicki - thank you so much, Sis. You are SO creative - you are so adept at writing and cooking and amazing things. Gardening - I wish I was better; unfortunately, I think I inherited a slightly brown thumb. Hehe. You're an inspiration, too!

      Ruchira - thank you so much for your kindness. You're so sweet!

      Carly - hehe, I have to say your feedback made me grin. :) Your thoughts are so wonderful and I'm thrilled that you enjoyed this. I feel like art definitely belongs to the people and is its own therapy for sure. I could study this a lot more, actually. :D

    • CarlySullens profile image

      Carly Sullens 

      5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      You are a natural at understanding the principals and applying art therapy for yourself. Art making in itself is therapeutic. You do not need a degree to benefit from art making or be in a setting with an art therapist go gain healing from art. In art therapy grad school, I remember a professor saying, art therapists do not own art. She was so right. Art is owned and accessible to all of us. Great hub..... (pssst, I am an art therapist. ;)

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 

      5 years ago from United States

      Great write up, Cyndi.

      Anything done with passion can turn into therapeutic and I can vouch for your artistic side :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Beautiful hub, Cyndi. You express yourself so well. I guess I can be creative in writing and cooking. I wish I loved to garden; I suffer through it. :-) I wish I could paint and draw, too. You are an inspiration, and so is this hub. Many votes!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Yes, art is truly therapeutic no doubt. This is an excellent article here and well-written. Love your art too, very creative and beautiful!

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 

      5 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Hi Cyndi, great as usual! And I totally agree with all your concepts. That's not surprising at all, given my take on the use of mandalas. I've actually used this technique to improve the states of mind of some teenagers. Teens do get so frustrated at times and that can be totally dangerous. So strive on, you're on the right path and this particular example of your writing is superb! Wish you all the best, just create away!

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I agree completely with you ! I have felt it in my life. beautiful hub and thank you for sharing this. Votes up and sharing!!!

    • Silvertabby profile image

      Patti Stevens 

      5 years ago from Washington State

      I totally agree with you. I, too, find art therapeutic. I think that is why art journaling has become so popular. In art journals, there's no right or wrong way to do it. You just have fun with creating and nobody but you will see it, unless you want to show it to someone else. Great hub!

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Janine - you are a gem! Yes, art - I just love it and can't get enough of it. :) Thank you so much for your kind words!

      dghbrh - I totally agree - the freedom of expression is precious. Thank you so much for the shares!

      Mel Chi - Yes - I'm completely there with you. I am so excited that you're working on canvases and doing the fashion stuff - the sky's the limit!!

      Eiddwen - thank you Eddy for your kindness! You're wonderful!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      5 years ago from Wales

      Vey very interesting ;thank you for sharing.

      Take care;

      Eddy.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      This was so inspiring! I love creating and being creative. For years I felt stifled working in an office doing admin, and now that I write for a living it's like all the doors of my creative conscious have opened! I started drawing fashion designs and paining on canvases which I haven't done in 12 years!! Thanks for sharing this, loved it, and love your artwork and the message your bring across. Great job my friend!

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 

      5 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Great hub.....really loving the ""Winter Leaf Fire Dance."......awesome this one is !

      "You can enter your own world and create your own rules."....very much rite here you are! The freedom of expression is the precious feeling one can have being a part of the creative world. Thank you for this hub and I am sharing across. Voted up interesting.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      5 years ago from New York, New York

      Kevin would totally agree with you on this one, especially when he was getting over the death of his grandfather. His art truly helped him greatly during this time. So wonderful article and again so true!!

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Hehe, thanks Big Bro. I meant to tell you that you commented so fast! I saw it appear when I was getting up from the computer...to go paint. Hehe. Thank you so much!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love your first line...I am an artist! Say it and it shall be so! I love your statement that art is therapeutic, for it truly is. I love the fact that you are following your inner voice. There is a great deal of truth in this hub my lil' Sis!

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