Healing through the arts

getty Images by Witthaya Prasongsin.

getty Images by Witthaya Prasongsin.

Rachael Bayuk

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In today’s fast-paced tech world, schools are throwing out the arts for the science. While no one can debate math and science’s importance in this new age, we can not leave behind the arts.

Even if one is not considering art as a craft, the arts still play a vital role in character development and stress relief.

Art classes in high school are a welcome reprieve from everything. My freshman art class in high school developed me and saved me. Art is healing.

Each brush stroke tells a story, every smudge of charcoal is a chance to forget.

There are whole classes designed with healing in mind. Such as a free online course by Tamara Laporte. This course is tailored with self acceptance and growth in mind.

Mix media can be so fun to work with, as the elements you incorporate are up to you. I often get my frustrations out through my art. Sometimes putting something onto a canvas can feel like locking it up and putting it on a shelf.

In a “Creative Minds in Medicine,” Arts Cleveland case study titled Art Therapy Studio, the use of art as a release is supported. In short, the case brought science and the arts together. Correlating the progress of patients with conditions such as depression and anxiety, due to the art classes they attended.

Yet, it is not just creating paintings and drawings. Theater, dance and writing play an important role in healing and self-expression too.

Theater builds self-confidence. Dancing empowers the body and mind. While poetry provides an unseen link to an inner self.

Maybe you don’t have the time to join a theater group or class, find scripts you like and practice them in your room. Acting can get you in tune with your own emotions while building your ability to recognize other people’s emotional states too.

Dance in your living room, put on your favorite tunes and dance however the beat guides you. Don’t forget to do valuable stretching beforehand. If you’ve always wanted to learn a type of dance find out if there is a class or club for it. If not there are always online options.

Last but certainly not least on the list is poetry. Poetry can develop word and language skills. Poetry is not something that is exclusively for the Edgar Allen Poe’s of the world.

Poetry, like most writing, is personal by nature. You can tell any story you want in those words. Poetry is a place you can spin a web of trues, without having to come out and say what is happening.

Contrary to what one might think, poetry doesn’t even have to rhyme.

The arts are not only valuable trades, they are a tool for healing. Whether you paint, act, dance or write, the arts create a safe space to be authentic. This is why they must be protected against budget cuts and cultural shifts.

Rachael Bayuk can be reached at [email protected] or @BayukRachael on Twitter.

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