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Depression Relief Through Art

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Major depressive disorder afflicts more than 17 million adults in the United States. Keeping in mind that depression is a spectrum disorder, the number of people suffering from grief, minor depression, or even low moods that affect daily their life and function is likely much higher.

As a nation, we are still recovering from a global pandemic that wreaked havoc on the economy. In addition, life itself is traumatic. Many are faced with debilitating and expensive health issues, caring for family members, job loss, or the death of a loved one. Some are affected by natural disasters, mass shootings, or domestic violence. All these issues can negatively impact someone's mental health.

With the steep cost of therapy services in the United States, many Americans feeling blue might be looking for more accessible options to improve their moods. There are many effective, safe, and health-positive changes you can make in your daily life to feel happier. For example, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and good sleep habits can ease depression symptoms.

One form of therapy that many find particularly enjoyable is art. Art can take many forms, and anybody can create art. Here are a few different forms of creating art that could help to improve your low moods.

Drawing and painting

When most of us think of art, we might picture a beautiful landscape or portrait on canvas created by someone who studied and practiced drawing and painting for decades. Certainly, ordinary people cannot make such beauty, right? Wrong.

Take it from the late great Bob Ross. The artist who painted gorgeous landscapes on his show, The Joy of Painting, believed anybody could be an artist. Start by watching an episode, which incidentally can be meditative and therapeutic. Then, grab a brush and some acrylic, oil, or watercolor paints and start creating. You can paint on a canvas, on computer paper, or even on a rock. You can paint a landscape, a loved one’s face, a comforting object, or your happy place, wherever it may be.

If the permanency of paints makes you nervous as a beginner, try your hand at drawing. Of course, you can erase any unintended strokes, though always remember that there are no mistakes in art, only possibilities.

Take time to admire your finished product. If you’re not happy with your project, begin again. Practice can significantly improve results. Consider gifting your finished work to a loved one. This act can also be good for one’s mental health.

Fiber arts

Imagine being able to psychically wrap yourself in the form of therapy.

Channel your grandmother, great-grandmother, or great-aunt by getting a couple of knitting needles and a skein of yarn and knitting a comforting scarf, hat, or pair of gloves. It might take a while to finish your project, but once you do, you will have created something you or a loved one can use, enjoy, and be comforted by for years.

If it's too warm out for knitting hats and gloves, try crocheting a cuddly stuffed animal or even coasters for your cold drinks. Beginners can follow along on this serene crocheting tutorial.

Visit your nearest fabric store for user-friendly sewing patterns and various equipment and supplies.


Is baking considered a form of art? Absolutely. Art is merely a form of expression using some form of medium, in this case, flour, sugar, eggs, or maybe some icing or sprinkles. Research has shown that baking for someone benefits our mental health.

Baking is a form of art that can be enjoyed at two different times in two very different ways. First, you can enjoy the act of creating your baked goods, having control of the creation, and relaxing in the meditative nature of cooking. You can then come together with a loved one and indulge in the eating of your creation.


Babies often dance before they can walk. This natural and enjoyable form of expression can lift spirits almost instantly. Like painting and drawing, some have studied and practiced the art of dance for decades. Others, however, may struggle to find the beat. But expertise does not matter when it comes to dancing.

You don’t need an audience or a nightclub to enjoy dancing. If you have a local gym or community center that offers classes, this could be an opportunity to enjoy dancing with friends or neighbors. If, however, you only have a YouTube video or even a song to dance to, by all means, crank it up. You can dance nearly anywhere. Make use of your living room or bedroom and dance like nobody is watching. This physical form of exercise is great for the body and mind.

These are only some suggestions of art forms that are therapeutic and can alleviate some of your depression symptoms. There are so many other forms of art to try if you’re feeling sad. Photography, ceramics, playing a musical instrument, and singing are all creative forms of expression that can have positive therapeutic impacts.

As always, it is best to consult a medical professional for mental health advice. However, if you are looking for a creative and pleasurable way to lift your spirits, turn to your favorite form of art and create something marvelous.


Edited by Niko Balkaran.

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