Promoting arts and its benefits to the community is an important mission of the Trust. We believe it’s a crucial part of education in schools and self-learning for all adults. Supporting our stance, more and more health professionals and psychologists are exploring the scientific relationship between engagement with the creative arts and health outcomes, specifically the health effects of music engagement, visual arts therapy and creative writing.
Put simply, society and individuals alike should engage with the arts to increase their sense of wellbeing. An alternative therapy to traditional sciences, the arts can be used in a variety of ways to heal emotional injuries, increase understanding of oneself and others, develop a capacity for self-reflection, reduce symptoms, and alter behaviours and thinking patterns. Given the ubiquity of creative expression, as well as the relative ease of engagement, the extent to which psychological and physiological effects are sustainably health enhancing is worth promoting for public health.
Music is the most accessible medium of art and healing: in particular, music therapy has been shown to decrease anxiety. The pleasure shared by participants in the healing process through a music therapy programme can help to restore emotional balance as well. There is also evidence of the effectiveness of auditory stimulation, together with a strong suggestion that such stimulation abolishes pain or at least helps individuals achieve control over their pain.
Art helps people express experiences that are too difficult to put into words, such as a diagnosis of cancer. Some people with cancer explore the meanings of past, present, and future during art therapy, thereby integrating cancer into their life story and giving it meaning. Artistic self-expression has been proven to contribute to the maintenance or reconstruction of a positive identity.
In respect of mental health, art offers an expressive outlet for the individual that can be as telling as a traditional therapy session. Many individuals feel a sense of release after an art therapy session.
Studies have shown that, relative to control group participants, individuals who have written about their own traumatic experiences exhibit statistically significant improvements in various measures of physical health, reductions in visits to physicians, and better immune system functioning. Writing increases health and wellness in varied ways and one does not have to be in an unhealthy state of mind to start using creative writing as an outlet.
There are clear indications that artistic engagement has significant positive effects on the health of individuals across cultures, genders and positions in society, so pick up a pencil, brush or instrument and start creating!