“The creation of something can make us feel good about ourselves, giving us a sense of purpose, worth and self-esteem,” says Kathleen Dobek, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Allied Behavioral Health in Wilmington and Newark.
Painting a watercolor, making pottery, writing a poem or composing a song requires concentration, with the added benefit of taking our minds off our problems.
“Creating art is immersive, requiring us to slow down, pay attention to details and focus on using our hands and senses,” Dobek says. “When we are physically focused, our minds slow down, and we tend to be more able to have new and different thoughts.”
Art can inspire a sense of awe, curiosity and appreciation, feelings that release endorphins, powerful chemicals the body produces that enhance mood and bolster a sense of well-being.
The artistic process also provides a safe place to express individuality, without depending on someone else to offer approval or validate feelings.
“Creating art allows you to give life to something uniquely you, within yourself. …[It] releases our innate desire to express ourselves, and we can do that with art more safely perhaps than we can with another person.”
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