The 2015 Philadelphia Mental Illness Awareness Week taught its attendees a lot of ways to cope with mental health problems. A few of these ways encouraged people to get creative. Expressing oneself creatively can actually better the state of one’s mental health.
Art As Catharsis
Art can be a form of catharsis or a way to release intense feelings. Through it, one can purge negative emotions that plague one’s mind. Is there something you can’t quite explain that is getting you down? Try to paint the colors that you associate with the feeling or sketch it in the form of a creature.
Perhaps you were put in an uncomfortable situation where you felt uneasy? Try to describe the feeling through poetry or write down what happened in a journal. Who knows? The forms of art that you’ve created—whether visual or written—might actually be beautiful. You may one day look back at these works and smile. They’ll remind you of the time that you managed to produce beauty from negative emotions.
Using art to cope with your mental health problems is known as art therapy. Note that you don’t have to see yourself as an artist to practice this. In art therapy, the process of creating the art is far more important than the final form. Creating an artwork based on the emotions you currently feel helps you become more in tune with your feelings. Doing art enables you to learn more about yourself and how you think.
Art therapy allows people of all ages and backgrounds to express what they feel through the creative process. It encourages participants to develop awareness of their cognitive processes and, with this awareness, change for the better.
The 2015 Philadelphia Mental Illness Awareness Week showed its attendees the power of art and creativity in dealing with mental health problems. May all who are currently struggling find some form of comfort in the art that they create.