The Arts and Your Health
- Every culture has found a connection between the arts and personal health.
- Music and art have been incorporated by doctors into therapeutic treatments for their patients.
- In a new documentary, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma travels the world to investigate the power of music in other cultures.
In recent years, doctors and researchers are finding a link between arts, such as music, and personal healing and self-improvement. A recent SurvivorNet article details the ways in which focusing on his art helped actor Val Kilmer recover from a battle with cancer. His acting career proved too strenuous during treatment, so Kilmer turned to art as a form of expression and an outlet for his stress.Read More
Lofty goals, of course, but therapists are finding that patients are reacting well to the treatment, which can benefit people battling cancer and chronic disease.
Art Has Many Benefits
Ma himself discusses his own decades-long career in making music and his growth with the Ensemble, a collective of about fifty members who have performed for millions of fans around the world.
“We started as a group of musicians getting together and seeing what might happen when strangers meet,” says Ma. “Now, when I’m with them, I feel a huge amount of creativity and trust. I am supported, inspired and energized by the work they do.”
The film also emphasizes how artistic creativity is essential to everyday life.
People who incorporate the arts – music, art, theater, literature – into their daily lives seem to thrive. In fact, surrounding yourself with the arts can improve the quality of your life in many ways.
10 Ways to Incorporate the Arts into Your Daily Life
1. Use apps! Art and technology are not incompatible. Try creation apps like ProCreate to help you design your own work. Subscribe to apps like DailyArt, which send you an image of new piece of art every day, along with a description of the work and the artist.
2. Visit museums. Many museums are open during the day, so why not take a walk during your lunch break to walk through and enjoy the exhibits? Many are free and open to the public, such as the Smithsonian galleries in Washington DC. Don’t live or work near a museum? Many museums and art centers have virtual exhibits you can visit at your own leisure.
3. Join a book club. Book clubs are more popular than ever! Find a book club in your area by checking out social media sites or visiting your local library. You can also start one on your own!
4. Use every minute in your day to enjoy the arts. If you have a long drive, listen to an audiobook (many are free through your library) or subscribe to a particular artist or genre on Spotify.
5. Take a class. Spend one evening a week or part of your weekend taking a class at your local community college, library, or community center. Have you always wanted to learn about photography? Ceramics? Or have you wanted to learn to play the piano or use watercolors?
6. Start a sketchbook or journal. Spend a few minutes a day working in a journal or drawing in a sketchbook. Don’t have a set agenda – just put down your thoughts or ideas, without editing yourself, or pick up your pencil and begin sketching.
7. Make the ordinary extraordinary. Look at your phone case. Your wallet. Your mousepad. Your iPad case. Are they boring? Is there room there to make them more interesting? Why not invest in a more artistic item? Shop at stores that sell the work of local artists, or check out sites like Etsy, where many artists set up shop.
8. Steep your space in art. Say goodbye to bare walls or boring cubicle spaces. Incorporate art in every aspect of your daily space.
Stream The Music of Strangers and other films about inspiring people on SurvivorNetTV.