While most children are very artistic, as we mature many of us put away our creative hobbies. However, you may wish to think twice; studies show that engaging in the fine arts can be beneficial to your health.

A wealth of studies indicate the positive impact the arts have on physical and emotional wellness. Participation in the arts — from drawing and painting to music, reading and writing — has been scientifically linked to increased self-esteem, empowerment, confidence, sense of control over your life and increased general well-being and quality of life

Here are a few examples of ways to easily utilize the arts to improve your general wellness:

Take a walk with your camera

One study found that participants who took part in a photography project felt an increase in self-discovery and a decreased sense of isolation. Photography requires you to connect to the present moment in ways that you didn’t before. Additionally, it helps you live in the present and reduce anxiety. Photography can have the added benefit of getting you up and moving around to scout out new scenes, situations or people to photograph, adding exercise to the equation.

Play music

An Irish study on music classes in mental health clinics found that people who played music reported an increased sense of well-being and self-worth, increased emotional expression, a heightened sense of purpose and a feeling of connection to their community. The purpose is not necessarily to gain skill, it’s about having fun. And make sure you sing along — singing can make you feel better about yourself and decrease your perception of stress.

Read aloud

It seems so simple, but the effects can be tremendous. Reading aloud to another person promotes improved mood, sense of community, increased quality of life and reduces chronic pain. Whether you’re reading to your kids, your partner or your dog, the act of sharing a creative experience — in this case, engaging in literature — with another increases our overall wellness.

Reclaiming your lost artist can reap immense benefits for your physical and mental wellness. And you don’t have to be good at it, you just have to try.

Sources:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17533015.2014.971830

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17533015.2014.957329

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17533015.2014.957330

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/intellect/jaah/2010/00000001/00000001/art00003