OPINION: Create art to improve mental health

Art can help with anxiety, mental illness, provides an outlet for creativity



Making and creating art helps with anxiety, and provides a productive outlet for mental health issues.


With the condition of the world these past few months, it has been difficult for many to get through the stress of day-to-day life. Many people that already struggle with their mental health might be having it worse lately. One of the most satisfying and rewarding things that can be done at any time is creating artwork.

David Janssen, an instructor in the Department of Fine Arts, said art can help students find a healthy outlet for creativity.

“[Art] can really be a place to express yourself, your ideas, your thoughts, your opinions,” Janssen said. “It’s a free place … a place where there’s really no boundaries.”

During a time of being locked down and struck down with various rules and expectations, you can create with that freedom in your own home.

Janssen said art has helped him overcome the stress and anxiety he faces from not having much control over life. He said art has always helped him get through difficulties.

The process of creating something can help anyone find themselves in a calm peaceful zone.

Janssen said creating helps him reflect and process everything happening around him so much easier, whether it is something stressful and traumatic, or even something beautiful and wonderful.

This is attainable for everyone to try. There are many options out there where you can find therapy in art. Art has many benefits that help people with their mental health.

“Another thing that has helped my students is that a lot of these projects and different ideas or concepts that they might be challenged with can become meditative almost, by which you have to shut off everything and focus on a certain idea,” Janssen said.

Aayushi Nalinaranjan, sophomore biochemistry major, participates in creative expression as well. She said she creates here and there, and though it’s not consistent, she still feels that there is an improvement in her life because of it. Nalinaranjan also said it doesn’t just have to be painting and drawing.

“Even if it’s just little things, it all helps,” Nalinaranjan said.

Nalinaranjan said she has been redecorating her room in her spare time, creating henna body art, as well as drawing and painting.

What she points out is very helpful because many people think of art as sketching or drawing with common tools instead of expanding onto other mediums. Art can be created through makeup looks, fashion designing and making music. There are so many more amazing outlets that create artistic products.

We are aware that many people believe that they are not talented or skilled enough to create art. People often feel discouraged, and that’s why they miss out on these beautiful benefits.

“You’re not going to just learn something overnight and then just know how to do it forever,” Janssen said. “It really is a journey that you have to give up the part of yourself that wants to be critical.”

The beauty you can create with your own hands is unlimited. You can escape to that world anytime. You can escape the expectations of the world and build your outlet, through any medium.

The progress you can make will give you a journey to be proud of, so what are you waiting for? Start that journey of healing and finding yourself.