If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a painting worth? We’ll let you think about that for a minute. Right now, painting can simply be a relaxing past-time. There’s something soothing about gliding your brush across a canvas and watching an image appear. It’s something you created. Good or bad, beautiful or abstract, it’s yours.
But painting goes beyond aesthetic benefits. There are real physical and emotional incentives to pick up a paintbrush.
How painting can improve your health
1. Strengthens your memory
It’s been proven that consistently participating in creative activities like painting reduces your chances of memory loss. Not only does it sharpen your mind, but painting is a powerful way to express yourself without words. For those of you who have a lot on your mind but may find it difficult to articulate your feelings, painting just might be the release you need.
2. Promotes critical thinking
When you’re painting, your mind isn’t absent. You’re forced to make actual decisions. Which brush should you use, which colours would fit well together, what shapes or images would best bring your creation to life? These are all problems that you’re solving on the fly. And although it may not seem like you’re giving it much thought, those choices go a long way to promote critical thinking.
3. Relieves stress
For many of us, stress is an unwelcome part of our existence. How we manage that stress plays a significant role in our mental and physical well-being and painting is one way to reduce the amount of anxiety we may be feeling. When you engage creatively, you are focused and relaxed. All you’re thinking about is how to best bring your creation to life. In this way, painting becomes very similar to meditation and has many of the same benefits.
4. Boosts confidence
Whether you’re a beginner or former MFA grad, not all your paintings are going to be perfect. You’ll have to show a bit of perseverance and some resilience to find a way to complete your image and make it look the way you want it to look. But once that moment happens; once you finish a piece and can stand in front of it and say, “I did that,” it ignites a kind of confidence in you that can’t be taken away.
5. Encourages emotional growth
OK, so you probably won’t be shedding tears with each brushstroke, but there are some serious emotions brewing when you’re painting. It’s not a coincidence that therapists encourage painting for people who have suffered some kind of traumatic experience. Art is all about expressing your emotions. Whether you fully realize it or not, what you’re painting on that canvas are feelings. Feelings that are deep inside you and allow you to better understand and cope with your own emotions.
6. Lets you concentrate
If you’ve ever painted before, you know all about this. Painting puts you in a zone. Even as your mind is racing through a million thoughts, painting has a way of calming all of that down and insisting that you focus on the task. It’s really a beautiful thing.
7. It sharpens your motor skills
Moving your hand back and forth across a canvas, taking an idea out of your mind and bringing it to life improves your hand-eye coordination. These are the same motor skills that will help when driving a car or for more active activities like yoga or knitting.
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