Mental Health

The Mental Health Benefits of Art

Albert Einstein once said that “creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Almost everyone does some type of art, whether it’s painting, drawing, dancing, writing, acting, poetry or music.

But, did you know that art can heal and has numerous benefits for the mind, body and soul?

Art has helped people with mental health issues as well as other serious health conditions such as cancer, chronic pain, high blood pressure, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature reported that art helps people forget about their illness(es) for a little while, allowing them to focus on the positives in their lives.

According to The Mental Health Benefits of Art for Everyone, creating art can relieve stress by giving the brain a break from usual everyday thoughts. It can boost self-esteem and gives a sense of accomplishment. “It gives you that ‘I did it’ lift when you accomplish what you set out to do.”

It also increases empathy, tolerance and love. The article says, “Brain scans revealed that looking at works of art trigger a surge of dopamine [‘feel good’ neurotransmitter] into the same area of the brain that registers romantic love.”

Art also has a mindfulness element to it. As the Art of Mindfulness website explains, “creative activities ease us into a process of focus, concentration, absorption and flow, which is the same process we experience when we’re meditating.” It also says creating allows people to change habits of negative self-talk and inner criticism.

Christina Walsh from Toronto finds that art helps her cope with mental health issues. She says, for her, art is “an ice breaker, a conversation opener,” and helps ease anxiety in social situations.

“Art keeps me sane…. It is my livelihood, but more than that, it is my passion and my chosen lifestyle,” says Wendle Beaton, owner of an online art and fashion store called Rebel Spirit. “For me, personally… without creative expression, I would shrivel up and die.”

Devin Ridley from Hamilton writes music as a form of art. He says, “Writing music is by far one of the most therapeutic activities for me. I find it really helps me integrate difficult emotional experiences.”

The best news is that everyone can create art. You don’t need to be a professional or expert to experience the benefits – you don’t even have to be good at it. All you have to do is grab your tools and create something.

Originally Posted on

Jessica Victoria
<p>Jessica Victoria, 24, is a writer and advocate for mental health, disability and LGBTQ+. She uses her personal experiences and knowledge to help and educate others.</p>

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