Feeling unwell? The stress can consume you. In times of sickness, a normal person tends to forget all other aspects of his/her identity.
A keen involvement in some art form can lift your mind from the slump. Facing chronic or terminal conditions, a lot of people may experience loneliness and hopelessness. This slowly transgresses into distancing oneself from the close ones and eventually, the society. In such cases, a little creativity acts as a ray of hope, helping one find a purpose in life, and eventually, find joy.
Numerous studies have shown that active participation in art and culture strengthens social well-being and health. According to an extensive report released by the World Health Organization, arts can influence the social factors related to health, contribute to children’s development, promote health-enhancing behaviour, prevent illnesses and support treatment of patients. Artistic and creative activities can also help patients recovering with mental illnesses and neurological disorders as well as prove beneficial in the treatment of non-communicable diseases. Arts also play an important role in terminal situations.
It is important to put an emphasis on the inculcation of arts to address health issues and disparities, to support communities and organizations for executing this and building understanding. Apart from funding the organizations working on issues of mental health stigma, trauma and ageing-related diseases, a helping hand should also reach out to the care providers, who are on the frontlines battling with trauma, anger, depression and fatigue.
We believe that arts and culture deserve public and philanthropic support due to their role in developing both intrinsic and social values. Communal art and cultural activities resonate with any human being. There are a lot of organizations, communities, volunteers, artists and allies doing their bit to cultivate community, creativity and resilience through different programmes, activities, charities and personal creations.
Talking about a few examples, we recently got in touch with some performing artists, who are dedicatedly working towards people’s mental well-being through their art.
Award-winning Counselling Psychologist and Art Therapist and one of the very few Women Harmonica Players in India, added her comments saying –
“Art is an extremely powerful tool for self-growth and managing our emotions. I came to know about this during my designing course, some 20 years ago where I experienced being in touch with art and I felt immense growth in myself. That’s how the journey of becoming a positive psychologist and an art therapist began. Then only I realised how art made me a more sensible, confident and responsible individual. it’s been 15 years as a psychologist and I have been constantly encouraging people to stay in touch with any form of art and music to take care of their everyday stress, and overall emotional health. Staying in touch with culture and art gives us a sense of belongingness, a sense of achievement and acknowledgement at the same time it gives us the feeling of being grounded and being ambitious at the same time.
We get a new language which needs no words to express.
It connects people across cultures, ages, ethnicity etc.
It’s a beautiful world.
One who stays knows the beauty.”
A Sound Healer helping people treat their physical and mental conditions through traditional sound therapy techniques had this to say –
“When I am playing my instrument, I am getting into a state of flow such that I become one with the music and hence the instrument. By channelling my frequency of thoughts I become one with the instrument’s frequency and vibration. Basically, my emotions of love, compassion, harmony and the respective frequencies of the feelings flow through my instrument and that helps to transmit these feelings to the audience on the other side. It also helps me transcend in that space as a meditation.
Similarly, all creative people using their respective art forms use that flow of state to get into that zone. Through the rigorous and long training, they are able to surrender to the higher power such that the mind and the body is in the state of relaxation and sounds automatically create symphony through synchronization.”
According to Mistry, music also helps increase immunity. When we listen to or play music, we are suspended in a state of happiness. That vibration gives us that abundance and happiness from living.
Art has always helped people transform. It has emotionally and mentally healed traumas for thousands of years. And if recent numbers are any indicator, the power of music will be harnessed for a million years ahead.