Welcome to the blog for Free Your Mind mental health anti-stigma campaign

This is the blog for the Free Your Mind campaign which aims to battle stigma towards mental illness through the use of music, art, film, and culture.
The blog consists of informative and, hopefully, entertaining articles/posts.
Enjoy! :-)

Monday, 23 August 2010

How Art Can Calm the Mind

Art is an expression of thoughts and feelings, as well as an outlet for creativity. It is well known that mental illness fuels creativity, and being artistic can be a great therapy. The arts can be used as a natural way of calming the mind, and can contribute towards improving the state of your mental health.

As I've said, your mental illness can fuel your creativity; many famous artists and writers alike, are reported to have experienced mental health disorders. I'm not saying being mentally ill mean you will be able to make a living out of being an artist - obviously, if your skilled and passionate, go for it - but art is for us amateurs too.

Being creative can be an outlet for anger and frustration. This seems an obvious one, but think about how you feel after a good moan to a friend about the stress of life; this is how it can feel after expressing these emotions artistically. Indulging your creative side can also help with mental health problems such as anxiety; being artistic provides a successful distraction.

When choosing which method you will use to express yourself creatively, its up to you, but my advice for you would be:

  • choose a method of artistic expression familiar to you (e.g. oils, watercolors, poetry, playing an instrument), or, alternatively, choose a couple of new creative outlets to try
  • choose a method of creativity easily accessible to you
  • don't worry about getting it perfect and, importantly, enjoy yourself!
Admiration of art can also contribute towards calming the undesirable symptoms of a mental illness. From watching a decent film, to reading a book of poetry, or a great work of literature, you can provide yourself with a healthy distraction from negative thoughts and emotions. Going to an art gallery can be both inspiring and uplifting. Visiting an art exhibition at a gallery has two major benefits for those of us diagnosed with a mental illness, especially those with an anxiety disorder; we leave the house and are provided with another healthy distraction. Many art exhibitions and galleries are free to enter - the Internet can be used to find out about free galleries or exhibitions near you - so don't let budget be your excuse not to go.

Expressing yourself through art, in any of its forms, can be a great outlet for unwanted thoughts and feeling, along with being a distraction from them. And, being a spectator of the arts can be extremely motivating.

I'd love to know what your thoughts are on what I have written and how the arts can help with mental health problems.

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