The Benefits of Art and Music Therapy
for Those in Recovery
As someone in recovery, your sobriety journey is intensely personal. To be sure, even though you are probably doing the same thing that others are in their recovery — eating healthy, exercising, avoiding trigger spots and people, and attending meetings — the additional decisions you make as you choose to stay sober are exclusively yours. So, why not add some joy to your recovery and use art and music as therapeutic tools?
Even if you’re not sure which side of a paintbrush to hold or you know you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, learning how to play a musical instrument or sing, or how to draw, paint, or even sculpt can add a joyful dimension to your sobriety and yourself. What’s more, you can, instead, choose to learn about art and music and deepen your appreciation of the arts.
Here, Online Therapy and Coaching provides guidance on finding your artistic outlet.
How It Works
People on the path to sobriety often relapse when they feel stress or anxiety, which most often happens when they feel a loss of control. Writing at Psychology Today, Dr. Elliot D. Cohen refers to it as our “demand for certainty in a world that is tentative and uncertain.”
Normally, hobbies are a great way to relieve the twin conditions of stress and anxiety, namely because they can help us feel in control, and just their very practice helps reduce heart rate and blood pressure and increase happiness. Hobbies get the mind and hands focused on a single task, whether it’s knitting a scarf or running a model railroad. They can also help us stay productive, build confidence, and connect us with productive, drug-free people who pursue the same hobbies. And because they can reduce stress, they can reduce the possibility of relapse.
Why Art or Music?
Like other hobbies, art and music can definitely be therapeutic. Additionally, they can also be creative outlets for building self-confidence, expressing feelings, establishing connections with others, and bringing joy. What makes them a little extra special is that they both can be forms of communication.
Art involves communication with imagery, whether it’s a painting or a sketch. Through it, you can communicate anger or peace, chaos, or control. Music, meanwhile, is communication with a sound other than the spoken word, and it, too, can reflect feelings of distress or calm. With art, you’re not just limited to watercolors on a canvas. You can learn to use charcoal, colored pencils, oil paints, textures, or you can learn photography. Likewise, with music, you don’t have to learn an instrument; you can also take voice lessons.
Even if you don’t feel you have the coordination to make art or feel you have the ear to make music, you can learn to appreciate and study both of them instead. Consider taking an art or music appreciation class, attend art exhibits, and attend symphonies or an opera. You can also spend some time on the internet and find a type of art or music that interests you, then find out everything you can about it. Either way, you don’t have to reduce your joy just because you are choosing to experience something instead of creating it.
Bob Ross, the late painting instructor, said that “every day’s a good day when you paint.” He also said that painting can bring a lot of “good thoughts to your heart.” But it really doesn’t matter if you’re painting, drawing, sculpting, making clay pots, playing an instrument, or singing from the top of your lungs. Learning art and music can add a dimension of joy to your sobriety. They can all bring good thoughts to your heart.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
Guest article by Lydia Chan from alzheimerscaregiver.net