Art proven to have mental health benefits

MATTHEW FLECKENSTEIN | STAFF REPORTER
Whether painting, writing or even listening to music, the arts help to improve one’s psycho- logical health.
Michael Friedman, an adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Social Work, wrote about the topic in an article for
Huffington Post.
“Art can be a healing force for people with mental disorders,” Friedman said. “And art can contribute to psychological well-being of people regard- less of whether they have a mental disorder or not.”
Music
Music, singing or listening, is an easy way to improve mental
From a young age, parents sing to their children to calm them down and 
it only makes sense that music helps people of all ages to relax.
Many people listen to music naturally to calm down, exercise or change 
their mood after a long day, according to the News in Health article. There are also some studies that say singing actually helps to reduce pain and can even act as a natural painkiller. Listening to music also allows molecules important for fighting disease to rise.
Music can help people with memory loss recall information. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease are able to sing songs from their childhood even if they can’t remember their spouse, according to a News in Health article.
Drawing and Painting
Art therapy also helps people better their mental health, especially after a traumatic event.
“When traumatic memories are stored in the brain, they’re not stored as words but as images,” Megan Robb, a News in Health therapist, said in a NIH article. “Art therapy is uniquely suited to access these memories.”
After a traumatic event, it is hard for people to describe what they are feeling in words. Drawing allows the pain to be externalized so people can begin to describe the event Robb said. It also allows others to see what the person is feeling.
It is also suggested that art therapy can help improve one’s health status, quality of life and coping behaviors, according an NIH article.
Writing
Expressive writing is when one writes about traumatic, stressful or emotional events, and it has health benefits such as fighting infections and improving the symptoms of depression, Dr. James Pennebaker said in a NIH article.
People who write about their traumatic experiences rather than superfi– cial ones reported more positive moods and fewer illnesses, even six weeks later, according to NIH.
Martial Arts
The martial art of Tai Chi is a form of slow and graceful body movements and is linked to improving physical and mental health.
Tai Chi enhances balance, reduces anxiety and ultimately depression, and helps children to be less stressed and do better in school, Dr. Patrick B. Massey wrote in the Chicago Daily Herald. It also improves cardiac func- tion and lowers blood pressure. 
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