The Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBTA)
- Combining mindfulness concepts with art therapy results in the therapeutic treatment known as mindfulness-based art therapy.
- The study of 44 participants with coronary art disease found that practicing mindfulness through art over 12 weeks reduced levels of depression, stress, and anger.
Mindful art therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It’s proven to have positive effects on your mental health. There are many studies which show how mindfulness-based art therapy can improve mood, reduce stress levels, increase focus and concentration, decrease pain and even enhance memory.
In fact, research shows that it may actually be better than medication. It’s been shown to work faster and longer lasting. It also reduces the possibility of negative side effects that come with anti-depressants. This is why many psychiatrists and psychotherapists are starting to use mindful art therapy as a form of treatment.
The Science Behind Mindful Art
Mindfulness is a mental state which focuses on the present moment. It’s a way of thinking which involves staying in the now. It’s the opposite of worry or anxiety. Through mindfulness, the mind is cleared of destructive and wasteful thoughts. It helps you to focus on what’s happening around you. It makes you more receptive and aware of your environment.
Mindful art therapy consists of guided meditations which put you into a mindful state. In this state you can channel your emotions into artistic expression. This can be in the form of painting, journaling or even music and dance. As you create, all of your attention goes into your work. You are completely focused and engaged with the activity.
Since you’re not over-thinking or over-analyzing what you’re doing, you are able to get in a state of “flow.” Your creative juices can start to flow and you’re able to be more spontaneous. There’s no worry about mistakes since mindful art therapy is all about expression and being in the moment.
This is why it’s especially good for people who have ADHD, ADD, OCD and other similar disorders. It allows them to focus their energy in a constructive way rather than having their minds constantly wander. It’s also a great way of calming the mind and releasing any pent up anxiety or stress.
This form of art therapy has proven to have beneficial effects for people with these kinds of disorders. It’s also been shown to have great effects on people who suffer from depression and anxiety. Practicing it over time can even lead to permanent changes in your brain structure.
The Science Behind the Art
Not only is art therapy a great way to express yourself, but it also has many psychological benefits as well. Mindful art therapy allows you to work through your problems and resolve them in a healthy way. It allows you to be creative and expressive which are two things that most people don’t really get to do in their everyday lives.
Research has shown that the creative process of art making can alleviate emotional distress. It can even alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Many people find art making to be a cathartic experience. It can even change the structure and function of your brain.
By practicing mindful art therapy on a regular basis, it’s been shown to increase your “brain grey matter.” This makes your brain work more efficiently. It’s also been known to increase your brain’s neural connections or synapses. It can even increase the size of certain parts of your brain and prevent the loss of brain cells associated with aging.
When you’re in a state of focused concentration, your brain releases a neurotransmitter and neuropeptide called BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This enables your brain to grow and change by forming new connections. This is why it’s been found that regular art therapy can actually lead to changes in the structure of your brain.
Since mindful art therapy can change the structure of your brain, it can also lead to changes in behavior. This is why it’s been found to help people with ADHD, depression, anxiety and other behavioral disorders.
As you can see, art therapy is so much more than just creating art. It has a whole host of benefits that can change your life. It can help you to express yourself in a unique way. It has a positive effect on your mind and can even improve your mental health over time.
By practicing mindful art therapy, you can improve your mental well-being. With practice, it can even lead to long term changes in your brain structure. This will help you to live a happier, healthier life that is less affected by your daily struggles.
If you enjoy art and creating things, then why not give mindful art therapy a try? You may be surprised at how good it can make you feel.