The year 2020 has been challenging for everyone all across the globe, and more people are now experiencing depression and anxiety. In Singapore, the number of individuals seeking help and counseling has gone up: the Singapore Association for Mental Health saw a 50 percent increase in helpline calls earlier this year, compared to the average calls in 2019. Apart from seeking professional help, many individuals and families have found positive ways to reduce stress and anxiety, which explains the growth of the number of people gardening, baking, drawing or painting over the past few months. Art activities, in particular, can help you to cope during difficult times, and creative pursuits can have numerous benefits for your overall wellness. Here’s how art can help you rise up and care for your mental health during challenging times.
It can ease stress
Earlier this month, more than 30 art galleries reopened their doors to get artists, gallerists, and art enthusiasts together once more. Following social distancing measures, the inaugural Singapore Gallery Weekend held exhibitions, demos and workshops to encourage everyone to bring more art into their lives, since art can have a healing effect in more ways than one. Drawing, in particular, can be instrumental in relieving stress, as the repetitive motion used to create images on a piece of paper can trigger the body’s relaxation response. Engaging in a creative hobby can put your mind at ease, and even beginners can benefit from the stress-busting effects of art. You can attempt to draw yourself, and sketch simple forms and body parts such as your hand, your feet, or your eyes, and from there, go on to making a self-portrait in your own drawing style.
It can make you feel more positive about the future
There’s a reason why people feel so much more optimistic after looking at artwork or watching a live performance. Experts say that art can make us feel more hopeful during challenging times, as viewing or creating art can make us think of various possibilities and see a future beyond the moment we’re living in. If you’re feeling down or hopeless, try viewing art at a nearby gallery or museum, or watch an online performance of your favorite musical artist. You can also paint, play a musical instrument, or take photographs: these activities can help fight depression and anxiety. Doing so can make you feel better about the future, despite the challenges that we’re all going through today.
It quiets the mind and gives you a sense of comfort
We’re constantly bombarded with depressing news and imagery, both real and fake, and sometimes, it can be hard to stay positive when we’re faced with all this negativity. If you want to take a break from it all, tune out by engaging in your favorite art form. Mindful activities like sculpting or coloring allow you to get in the zone, helping you to focus deeply as you become fully present in what you’re doing. Mindfulness can help to calm the mind and give you a sense of comfort, enabling you to find peace, even in the most troubling moments.
The year 2020 may have been tough on your mental health and emotions, but don’t let it get the better of you. Try adding more art into your life to cope with negative emotions, and see how much healthier and happier you can be when you engage in a creative and positive activity.