Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This Is Your Brain - On Crafts

Everyone knows that drugs change your brains ability to function, but did you know that creating something can also change your brain?  Studies have been done and have determined that art therapy is an effective tool in the fight against many mental issues, including but not exclusive to, depression, PTSD, autism, reducing pain and anxiety, bi-polar disorder, and so much more.

In living with, and loving, the abused children that have come into our lives and home, I have depended on arts and crafts to help them settle in and express feelings that they could not articulate.  And I have discovered that having "talent"  and the end creation doesn't matter. What does matter is the process.  If you are interested in the actual studies on the affect of art therapy, check out this article by Vija B. Lusebrink.  But in a nutshell, different skills activate different parts of the brain.  Did you know that printing only activates a small portion of your brain, but that writing in cursive activates a larger portion of your brain?  And using a keyboard activates the least amount of your brain?

There is a long history in the use of art as therapy, starting in the late 18th century with psychiatric patients, and has evolved over the years until it became an accepted form of therapy in the 1960's.  Today art therapy is used to help seniors keep their minds sharp and increase their small motor skills, and helps people of all ages with cognitive skills, social skills, problem solving skills, and so much more.

So go ahead, grab some paint, or beads, or yarn, and have fun.  You'll feel better.

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