Draw Your Way to Better Mental Health and Physical Health

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Draw your way to better mental health. A live male model
I sketched these ones during art class! I especially liked drawing his hair bun.

Recently, my friend and I attended a live sketch class. We came with our pencils and sketch pad to draw a live model. The young man did a series a different poses of varying lengths; we worked our way up to 20-minute sketches over the 2-hour session. And I loved it! I felt so proud that not only had I done something new – I hadn’t attended a live model class before – but also I was proud of the art I produced that night. I hope to continue to draw. Especially given that drawing can improve mood and lead to better mental health and physical health.

Art as Therapy, for Both Creators and Viewers

A few years back, the adult coloring book trend took off. Internet ads and storefronts promoted these books and the nostalgic act of coloring as a meditative practice to lower stress and anxiety. And they’re not wrong; a significant amount of studies identify the act of making art as very therapeutic. Artistic activities can draw people’s attention to details and the environment, mimicking the experience of meditation.

Furthermore, art therapy is widely in use to help patients forget about their illnesses and focus on positive emotions, lowering the stress hormone, cortisol, significantly. In fact, even viewing art can prove beneficial, as those who spent 35 minutes or more during their lunch break exploring an art gallery reported feeling less stressed.

Aside from the popular bullet journaling and adult forms of coloring, sketching is a great way to act on the benefits of creating art.

Draw for Better Mental Health and Physical Health

There are numerous ways sketching can improve mood and better mental health and physical health overall.

Five benefits of sketching are:

Helps creativity.

Drawing offers you the ability to think in a different way than you’re used to. In particular, sketching encourages open-ended thought and creativity. That’s why it’s such a popular activity for kids.

Enables more strategic thinking.

The cognitive and cerebral benefits of drawing are endless. Plus, sketching helps to build new connections and pathways throughout the brain.

Boosts holistic health.

The activity mimics that of meditation, helping with both relaxation and stress relief. Drawing relaxing the brain, giving it a break from the strain of continuous concentration. The result can be better mental health overall.

Improves communication skills.

Because sketching is visual, and there is often no text present, you’re forced to communicate through pictures. Thus, this process leads to better decision-making skills and understanding of different feelings and emotions.

Helps with coordination.

The more you draw, the more you improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Infographic on Ways Drawing Improves Mood

Lastly, Invaluable created this neat infographic that explains some of the benefits of sketching. It also shows some ways to use the meditative practice as a way to manage different emotions.

Whether you’re feeling anxious or sad, use the ideas as inspiration, and just start drawing!

Sketching benefits infographic for better mental health
Infographic from Invaluable.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Love this post, Christy. Such great advice. I used to attend live model sketch classes on the regular. Haven’t done it for a while. You’ve inspired me. Nice work on your sketches. I have taken up art journaling which involves sketching as well as unstructured more abstract work. It is very therapeutic. Same benefits as you mention. Nice Infographic too. Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration to continue my art.

    • Hi Lisa, art journaling sounds like a great activity! I’ll have to try it. If you go to a live sketch class again, let me know how it goes. I’m planning to go again next week. Thanks for the enthusiastic comment here and for the share over on Twitter 🙂 Cheers to creating art!

  2. Great post! Very well written. I hadn’t ever made the connection between creation and meditation. But makes sense that it would redirect a wandering mind into a focused activity. Very cool.

    Roger
    mindandlove.com

  3. I have only attended one set of classes with a live model at a community center. We actually took turns in being the model in subsequent weeks. It was fun.

    As an artist, it is really relaxing to create art most of the time. Occasionally things do not turn out the way one might wish, but the act of creating art is therapeutic as you mentioned. I often play relaxing music at the same time when I am painting, drawing, or printing my linocuts. A win-win!

  4. I have a desk blotter calendar that contains a border for adult coloring. While I’m thinking about what to write next, or waiting for a page to load on my computer, I’ll grab my colored pencils and spend a few minutes chilling.

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