Creating art involves more than painting or sculpting a masterpiece, it is about expressing yourself. Art requires you to concentrate on details and the smaller things, and in this way forces you to enter a peaceful state of mind in which your worries are pushed aside.
What happens to brain cells during Dementia?
In “Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 Neurobic Exercises to Help Prevent Memory Loss and Increase Mental Fitness,” Dr. L Katz’ research suggests that depending on the type of dementia, the decline of mental health begins due to the lack of communication between brain cells rather than by the death of brain cells completely. For instance, as Alzheimer’s progresses “brain cells are surrounded by an abnormal protein and their internal structure is damaged,” thus resulting in the loss of chemical connections and communication between cells. In order to facilitate communication between brain cells, Dr. Katz suggests that brain cells need to be exercised through activities such as creating art.
The benefits of creating art on mental health
Of the side effects of Dementia, frustration and anger in particular can be relieved through the creation of art. Expressing oneself can be difficult in any situation, however, trying to do so when also dealing with Dementia can be even more frustrating. Creating art can be an outlet for pent up emotions and has been associated with increasing the production of dopamine, the chemical responsible for levels of motivation, productivity, and focus. Creating art also enhances problem solving skills as it requires you to come up with unique and creative solutions and results in the increased production of neurons in the brain.
Low levels of dopamine have been observed in individuals with Dementia and can leave them feeling unfocused, unmotivated, lethargic, and even depressed. Therefore, keeping dopamine levels high is vital for reducing stress levels and depression.
Dr A Bresky developed the “Brain Tune Up” program for individuals with Alzheimers and Dementia. The program involves patients drawing and painting in order to increase brain cell activity and the communication between cells in the right and left sides of the brain, this also results in the production of more neurons. He claims that his program has resulted in a 70% success rate of improving patient’s recollections of memories.
Try your hand at a free Art Therapy session!
Thus, the fact that there is a connection between creating art and improving one’s mental health is clear. If you or any of your loved ones would like to try your hand at painting or creating art in the near future—in a comfortable environment!—then come join us on September 30th or October 3rd at any of Vida’s free Art and Meditation sessions.