Art therapy: boost your mood with arts-based activities

Join a choir, take a dance class, or whip out the old paint brush: a new study shows that these arts-based activities can help to improve mood.


While many adults find it difficult to make time for these hobbies, scheduling some artsy activities into your schedule may be just what you need. Published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology, new research found that both healthy adults and those with mental health conditions can benefit from enhanced emotional regulation when participating in arts-based groups.


“People with chronic mental health conditions tend to experience difficulties with emotion perception and regulation, which can have a big impact on their social relationships,” says lead author Genevieve Dingle of the University of Queensland School of Psychiatry. “These symptoms are not well treated with medication or psychotherapy. The findings of this study are exciting because they clearly show the potential for participation in arts-based groups to influence emotions and emotion regulation in positive ways.”


Specifically, Dingle and colleagues chalk this up to the social support that these activities provide. Doing something arts-related with others was also associated with hedonic pleasure and eudaimonic reward, based on the achievements it spurned. . As such, this research suggests that participation in arts-based groups can improve subjective well-being for everyone.


Whether or not you or your children are experiencing mental health issues, making time for doing art in the presence of others can help give you a much needed emotional boost. Try out some new activities as a family, or enroll in some classes at your local community centre.