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By Mindy Lawrence

Arts and crafts, in almost any form, are therapeutic. Whether you draw, paint, play music, make pottery, or make books, you put your whole attention into the work. For a bit, you are lifted from the troubles of the day. Participating in arts and crafts enhances your mental health and reduces nervousness and stress.

· Arts and crafts lessen anxiety.
While you are doing a project in the arts or a craft, your mind is free to wander and work problems out. It gives you a chance to think about something different than what is giving you stress. In some cases, the physical activity itself can be soothing.

· Arts and crafts bring people together.
When you take an art class, you are around others who are learning the same thing. It helps to be in a group. Also, the arts bring communities together. Those within a group can decide to support arts and crafts by having a place for performances or for artists to work. Other people like you have a place to go to be creative.

· Arts and crafts help to advance cognitive skills.
The arts strengthen the brain’s attention system. They make you pay attention to a particular task. Practicing a skill builds up a mental link related to the skills necessary to complete the task being performed. This is much like making a sculpture and getting better as you go.

As an example, bookbinding is one of the skills people learn. The binder must be intent on what they are doing. The task often becomes almost meditative.

What is Art Therapy? Very Well Mind

5 Ways Art Helps with Mental Health, Science Times

4 Reason Craft is Good for you Mental Health, Crafts Council UK

Mental Health Benefits of DIY Crafts

Bookbinding Studio Blog 17, Bookbinding Therapy (ASMR)

New Studies Link the Arts to Crucial Cognitive Skills, Edutopia

How Arts Training Improves Attention and Cognition, Cerebrum, Michael I. Posner, Ph.D., Brenda Patoine



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