Can artist improve their mental health through art-making?

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In this study, Anne Dalebroux, Thalia R. Goldstein, and Ellen Winner sought to explore how creating visual art may be used to restore one's mood in the short-term. To do so, they conducted an experiment with undergraduate students, looking at two ways in which creating visual art may be used to restore one's mood: venting emotions through art or turning away from a negative mood and focusing on something positive. Through the experiment, they found that focusing on something positive was more effective in restoring one's mood in the short-term, challenging the belief that has been held for centuries that artists can improve their mental health simply by expressing their suffering through art creation.

 

How can creating visual art be used to improve one's mood?

In this study by Anne Dalebroux, Thalia R. Goldstein, Ellen Winner. They sought to explore how creating visual art may be used to restore one's mood in the short-term. To test this, they conducted a within-subjects experiment with undergraduate students. They looked at two ways in which creating visual art may be used to restore one's mood in the short-term.

Specifically, they tested whether venting emotions through art or turning away from a negative mood and focusing on something positive is more effective in restoring one's mood in the short-term.

They found that focusing on something positive was more effective in restoring one's mood in the short-term. After watching a film that caused a negative emotional response, participants were given an affect grid to rate their current mood and arousal. Then, they were asked to do one of three tasks: drawing something to express their current feelings (venting), drawing something happy (positive emotion), or scanning a sheet for symbols (as a distraction control). Affect grid ratings were taken again before and after the task. After, arousal levels stayed the same in all conditions, while valence became more positive in each task, with the greatest improvement occurring after the positive emotion task. Additionally, venting had no more effect on improving valence than the control task. Overall, the positive emotion task was the most effective in restoring one's mood.

These results suggest that, in the short-term, focusing on and expressing negative emotions through art is not as effective as turning away from a negative mood to something more positive, which is supported by research on the benefits of positive emotions.

Specifically, the results of this study suggest that, in the short-term, creating art that focuses on positive emotions is more effective in restoring one's mood than creating art that focuses on negative emotions. This contradict the belief that has been held for centuries that artists can improve their mental health simply by expressing their suffering through art creation.

 

In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that, in the short-term, creating art that focuses on positive emotions is more effective in restoring one's mood than creating art that focuses on negative emotions. This challenges the belief that has been held for centuries that artists can improve their mental health simply by expressing their suffering through art creation. Therefore, this study highlights the importance of turning away from a negative mood and focusing on something positive when it comes to restoring one's mood in the short-term. Additionally, these results are supported by research on the benefits of positive emotions and provide insight into how creating visual art can be used to improve one's mood.