Art and Anxiety Management | HealthyPlace
It’s not a surprise that I am a fan of art of all kinds. I have written on this blog, in the past, about poetry and music. Today I’d like to talk about art in the abstract, specifically why art is such a powerful force in the management of anxiety.
The Orderly Power of Art
Obviously, the effects of art on the human psyche are limitless, and the books about the subject could fill an entire library, so I’m going to focus mostly on one aspect that seems most relevant to the subject at hand.
Anxiety, in a fundamental sense, connotes a feeling of uncertainty. It is chaotic. In the midst of an anxious period, it’s easy to expect the worst, to catastrophize, because it feels as though nothing makes sense, everything happens random, and whatever happens is bad.
Art acts in almost the exact opposite way. Regardless of what kind is being discussed, art functions by imposing some kind of structure, or order, onto the randomness of life. Poetry in its modern form generally gives order to emotion by imposing words onto it. Stories arrange the events of life in an aesthetically significant way, one that can often shine new meaning in ways a straight retelling of events cannot. Even music can be considered the imposition of order onto sound, and the results can create meaning and significance in ways that often fall short of language’s ability to express.
Why I Love Art
I love art for so many reasons, but that ability to create order out of randomness is one of the biggest. When everything feels chaotic, art reminds me that there is always a way to make sense of what is going on, even if that understanding seems out of reach. Art reminds me that regardless of what I’m going through, countless men and women have gone through similar experiences, and have left immortal testaments to that experience through the art they have produced.
That being the case, I highly recommend everyone to have their own repository of art that they can return to whenever they may feel down. Art, of course, can encompass anything from literature to music to film to even video games. It’s good to have different kinds of art, depending on what you may want at the time. For instance, if you’re feeling down, maybe you want something that’s similarly sad, so that you can better understand that sadness and not feel so alone. Or maybe you want something happy, to try and raise your spirits. Both are completely legitimate, and both are valuable in their own way.