Has your brain ever called out because it needs more creativity? You just feel unexplainably drawn towards your paints and pastels? This is because your brain actually needs art. Art therapy has the ability to soothe and support your brain. Here are three ways art therapy can help your brain:
It activates your brain’s reward center
When you make art, it activates the reward center of your brain. Creating makes you feel accomplished and productive, which increases serotonin in your brain. Whenever you are making art, it increases blood flow towards the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This area of the brain is responsible for regulating our thoughts, feelings, and also regulates our motivational capacity. Once you have a visual representation of what you have created, the blood flows to the reward center, making you feel closer to your life purpose.
It helps you create deep focus
When you are making art, you get so into the zone that you lose awareness of what is happening around you. This is because making art increases your theta brain wave activity, which is the brain wave state you enter when you are meditating. Making art basically puts you in an altered state of consciousness because of this. In our day-to-day, we normally operate in beta waves. The beta wave state is where we are able to make decisions and think. When we make art, however, we switch into the theta brain wave, where we are able to be creative and heal. This is because the art-making process helps humans react.
As you paint or draw, you’ll notice that your heart rate naturally starts to slow down, your senses become more alive, and you can get in touch with your intuition. Getting in touch with your intuition is different than thinking. When we are just in thinking mode, the way we are in the beta state, we aren’t really healing, and we can get stuck in negative thinking patterns. In art therapy, we are able to get our brains into a state where we are able to fully access the wise mind and start the healing process. The theta state is where our subconscious lives, so being able to access this in therapy is incredibly potent. You are able to remember and work through trauma in a space that makes it safe and comfortable for you to express yourself.
Art therapy works with neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to create new pathways. This means that with practice, we can change our brain, creating more positive thinking, which results in more positive behavior and relationships with others. When making art, we are creating new pathways. Making art is predictable because it is so repetitive. When you engage in an activity like embroidery, the motion of the stitching is repetitive, which lowers your stress and soothes your brain. Because your brain is relaxed and your amygdala isn’t activated, you can create new neural pathways. The more we do it and the more we practice, the more malleable our brains become. The more malleable our brains become, the easier it is to change our unhealthy patterns and behaviors and become better.
Our practitioners, Laura and Vivi, are both art therapists who can help you get in touch with your full potential. If you think that art therapy sounds like a good fit for you, you can schedule a consultation with them here.
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Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.