Why Does Art Make You Happier?

Light blue background with paintbrushes in the bottom right corner.  In the top left corner "Why Does Art Make You Happier?  Science-based" is written.

Sketching. Drawing. Painting. Art. All of these are proven to actually boost your mood and make you feel happier. But how? We’ve been creating art for thousands of years, and there are countless ways of expressing creativity. Some of us see art as a release for stress or frustration, some as a passion, or some as a means of combating boredom. Side note, anyone can be an artist! You don’t have to be a pro, art is just expressing your thoughts and feelings. In this BIT, we break down why expressing our creativity in the form of art gives us a small bit of happiness.

There are countless types of art! Each is unique, and gives you the opportunity to express yourself in a different way. See the image for a list of some unique art genres you may or may not have heard of before! However, while many types of art can boost our mood, some studies show that coloring inside a shape (i.e a mandala) is more effective in mood-boosting than free-hand drawing.

WHY?  What goes on inside of our brain while we create art?

When we work on a piece of artwork, it actually improves our brain function! Yes, our brain functions better due to the impacts that art has on our emotions, brainwaves, and nervous system. Making art also helps our brain form more connections, and calm down from stressful experiences, and possibly (research is still being done) even improve our memory.

Teen girl with short, black, straight hair, wearing a blue and white striped blouse with dark overalls is painting.

For example: 

Accomplishment: As we create a piece of art, we feel a sense of accomplishment, as we see our way through something. As we finish or see progress in an art piece, it stimulates more motivation in our brain. Working on art also stimulates the reward/pleasure centre of our brain, with a study finding that this activity can result in up to 10% more blood flow to this area of our brain, which is equal to that which occurs when we look at a loved one.

Flow: When we engage ourselves in an artistic activity, we allow our brains to enter a sort of ‘flow’. Time goes by faster, we become more present in the current moment, and we feel less stressed. This is because when we work on a piece of art, and actually let ourselves immerse in it, our brains can begin to deeply focus on the task at hand. Additionally, working on art activates the part of our brain associated with self monitoring and awareness.

Release Emotions: Art gives us the opportunity to channel our sadness, frustration, stress, or even excitement into something physical. It can be difficult to put words to emotions, but with art, words aren’t needed, giving us a chance to truly connect with how we’re feeling. Your art can reflect memories, current situations, or emotions. Art lets us express our emotions, and communicate them in a different way.

We hope that you try some form of art today, and find a small bit of happiness in the many benefits it provides.


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