Studies have shown that participation in the arts, cultural and heritage-based activities can significantly improve your health and wellbeing, help to stimulate cognition, keep your mind active, connect with like-minded people who have similar interests, learn new skills to share with your loved ones and improve your overall quality of life.
"Arts can help people stay well, recover faster, manage long-term conditions and experience a better quality of life."
Arts can make a powerful contribution to our mental health. Arts can lead to increased concentration, heightened self-esteem and inspire positive feelings. The arts have been shown to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, no matter a person’s skill level. The very simple act of engaging and creating art is enough to reduce stress, alleviate anxiety and depression, stabilise emotions and stimulate the senses.
Arts can help to improve memory and enhance cognition. A two-year inquiry launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health, and Wellbeing found that “visual arts, music, dance, digital creativity, and other cultural activities can help to increase psychological resilience, delay the onset of dementia and diminish its severity.”
Your brain’s ability to grow connections and change throughout your lifetime is called brain plasticity or neuroplasticity. Mental health, dementia and neurological conditions erode neural pathways in the brain, which is what leads to loss of information storage. Creating art stimulates communication between various parts of the brain. Creating art can stimulate the creation of new neural pathways, which allow for information storage and recall.
Art can help to create a feeling of community. Coming together with like-minded people who share similar interests and have a similar outlook on life can help to increase feelings of connection, reduce loneliness and encourage independence.