BY: ALEXANDRIA LEE
Thinking of getting back into painting, playing guitar or writing? A healthier mind is another incentive to return to your neglected hobby.
Engaging in the arts for therapeutic reasons is often recommended by professionals, but spending at least two hours a week doing so of your own accord, and for your own enjoyment, will also contribute to positive mental health, afinds.
Researchers from the University of Western Australia quantified the relationship between recreational arts engagement and the general population and found that those who spent 100 hours or more per year (i.e. two or more hours a week) on arts-related activities reported significantly better mental well-being.
And even if you consume art rather than create it, the benefits of doing so are still in effect. “Arts engagement” includes a variety of art forms and is defined as both active (writing, painting, singing) and receptive (attending a concert or performance).
The 15-minute survey was asked to a random sample of 702 Western Australian adults about the past 12 months. Questions covered demographics, mental well-being, arts engagement, and potential confounding variables that may have skewed the results, which were collected and adjusted to ensure accuracy.
From writing to attending a concert performance, engaging in arts will contribute to positive mental health.
While evidence of the benefits of arts engagement has been on the rise since the 1990s, the study, which was published on Jan. 5, is the first to determine a number regarding how much arts engagement is needed to fulfill the relationship between a “dose-response.” The “art dose” of at least two hours or more joins other factors known to be associated with mental well-being, such as engagement in physical activity, spirituality and vacations, as well as general good health.
“People need a range of easy enjoyable options they can use to stay well,” one of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Christina Davies. “Depending on a person’s interests, the arts can provide a range of health enhancing opportunities, activities and events. Arts engagement increases happiness, confidence, self-esteem and reduces stress and social isolation.”
“People need to give themselves permission to be creative and to make time for the arts activities and events that they enjoy,” she added.
Image sourcing: istock.com