How Painting Can Boost Your Mood And Mental Health

By now there have been many, many, studies released about the correlation between art and improved mental health. If you’ve clicked on this blog right now, you’ve likely even come across or read through a few yourself! However, in a lot of these blogs, they seem to just barely skim the surface of why it helps; merely saying that it does and you should trust them. 

Unfortunately, most further studies showing the reasons behind these connections are often blocked behind paywalls, and even if you did buy into it, the research is often hidden behind scientific jargon making it an overall unfriendly and rather confusing read if you aren’t already well versed in their talk.

We’ve done the legwork, and we’ve taken the time to break down the reasons why it helps because not only do we think this information should be available to everyone, we were curious too! So if you’re looking for reasons why painting can boost your mental health, join us as we explore the complex landscape of mental sciences. Hopefully, we’ll even convince you to take up a paint brush and get artsy too!

Creates a state of ‘Mindfulness’

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Through our research, one key term that came up often was the idea of mindfulness. This is the state of being able to reflect on yourself, on your own thoughts, without judgement or any typical distractions. One can also achieve a state of mindfulness through meditation; though not everyone finds it especially pleasurable to sit and focus on one's breathing for extended periods of time.

Art and painting in particular is unique in the fact that you could create an entire piece of art without having to think too hard about what you’re doing. Of course, that’s not to say you don’t think at all or always go into a relaxed state throughout the whole painting session; but it is an easier task to get away with multi-tasking.

If you’ve ever painted before, think back on the last time you were working on a painting. Did you mind drift, were you always thinking about the subject of your painting, or were there times of pleasant silence? Most artists would agree that they aren’t exactly always focused on the painting itself; instead they get lost in the brush strokes, simply enjoying the moment of putting paint on a canvas.

By giving yourself these moments of relaxed space where your brain doesn’t have to over analyze everything and can just, exist, allows you much needed time to process and reflect on yourself. This isn’t an experience exclusive to artists either, anyone can tap into this calm mental state; they’d only have to take the initiative to practice the arts themselves! With a paint by numbers kit, the process is made all that much easier too as you just have to fill in the numbers with it’s correlated color. 

Reduces cortisol levels

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According to a few studies run on individuals practicing art therapies, they experienced a reduction in cortisol levels, which are markers in the brain for stress. Essentially, by creating art, their stress levels gradually went down promoting a better mental state in the individual. By continuing to practice these art therapies over time, the brain seemed to be fostering a more adaptive response to stress.

Through the work of Neuroesthetics (the use of brain imaging devices) the real proof that the arts do impact the brain in healthy and beneficial ways is becoming more available. We’re even starting to be able to make more connections between where exactly the brain is processing these benefits; such as the example above with lowered cortisol levels.

Therefore, the fact that arts and painting can improve your mood is no longer just a myth or fanciful idea. 

Promotes a sense of achievement

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A universal mood booster in people is when people feel a sense of achievement. When it comes to painting, it doesn’t matter what skill level you have as there is almost always a sense of achievement that comes with completing a piece. Even in the steps in between the start and end of your projects, there are often little bursts of achievements as you marvel over your work or pat yourself on the back for the right color choices!

If you’re a new painter or a non-artist, you can use a paint by numbers kit to create stunning artworks you may not think yourself capable of. The end result will no doubt give you a sense of pride and accomplishment, because you made that yourself! If you’re really pleased with the results, you can even hang it up to enjoy little rushes of pride and happiness whenever you see it; similar to how people hang up their awards and certificates.

How you approach painting

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In the end, while painting does have many benefits, it depends on how you approach the piece. If you look at painting with fear or as a chore, the added benefits or reduced stress obviously won’t occur. Instead, if you’re trying to use painting as a mood enhancer, you should allow yourself the freedom to do what you please. If that means using a grid or template to ensure the final piece has a reasonable chance of success, then go ahead and use one.

If you don’t want to follow any guides and just work on your own, that’s perfectly fine too! Let yourself get messy and make mistakes, don’t worry about perfection. You can even put on some music to put yourself in a calmer mental state and enjoy the additional benefits of musical therapy!

Perhaps after reading through our blog on the ways painting can boost your mood, you’d like to try too. If you’re confused where to start on your new painting journey, we’re more than happy to point you in the right direction!

Click Here to check out our selection of paint by numbers kits and get painting today!