Arts-based activities – a perfect fit for your 5 ways to wellbeing.
By Bilberry Bloom, Jan 25 2016 07:26PM
In our increasingly micro-managed and stressful world, arts-based activities offer a place of refuge, a chance to switch-off and take a break from our daily routines, but generally people participate in creative activities because they gain immense enjoyment by doing them.
Most people can relate to some form of art whether it is music, dance, theatre or visual, such as graphics, painting and photography. Covering a huge range of structures, materials, styles, skills and knowledge – the arts can reach out to a broad spectrum of society, regardless of age, gender or diversity. In many cases it can provide a platform for debate and open dialogue whilst truly encouraging engagement.
The arts, it could be argued, in one form or another, are deeply rooted in our personal lives; they may be said to define our culture, greatly influence our formative years, provide us with a platform to create our own personal sense of identity and ultimately give us common ground on which to connect with others.
However, on a deeper level, when you have found an art form that you can personally relate to, or even participate in, it can become totally immersive; deeply involving our senses and creating an altered mental state. In short art in its many forms can touch our emotions, change our mood, and provide a sense of perspective and meaning whilst connecting with ourselves and other like-minded people.
Participating in an arts activity is a fun way to build confidence and develop new personal skills that can be used in everyday situations; for instance, creating a visual piece of art can help you to refocus, evaluate process and see things from different perspectives, whilst learning a new dance step can help self-motivation and provide a sense of awareness about our body language, learning to play a musical instrument can help to fine tune our listening skills and voice coaching techniques can help you to use your voice effectively to get your message across.
Take Notice (Awareness).
In producing a piece of visual art as an artist, as the choreographer of a dance or crafting a performance as an actor, apart from the physical and practical side, developed observational and listening skills allow the artiste to capture characteristics and identity to play the role of another person. Additionally, by developing communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal such as gesture and posture artistes have the ability to emphasize with an audience. By being aware, artistes learn to ‘read’ an audience’s mood and emotional state so that they can intuitively tap into it and respond accordingly.
From a non-verbal perspective actors and dancers are trained to be aware of their own body language as this can be a powerful way to articulate emotions and mood but also in some cases change perception, convey empathy and knowledge.
Getting involved in the more physical art forms, such as dance, can be a rewarding and fun way both to exercise and release tension. The level of physical involvement can vary enormously depending on the dance style. The good thing about dancing is that because you are enjoying yourself you tend to forget about the fact that you are actually exercising. Many forms of exercise can be quite solitary whereas dancing tends to be very social and therefore a great way to meet people.
Creating handmade items can be a very rewarding way to give, whether it is a personalised gift to someone special or creating items to sell in order to raise money for a good cause. From the recipient’s point of view, there is nothing more valued than a gift that has been personally and lovingly produced - just for them - in the knowledge that time and effort has been spent producing something with them specifically in mind. On another level, giving your time is the most valuable gift that you can give, especially to a child or elderly person living alone, so you could use your newly learned skills to teach others.
The beauty of arts-based activities is that you don’t need to have prior experience to enjoy having a go; you never know you may discover what can become a lifelong passion. In addition, unlike many other sectors, the arts offer a wide and variable choice – there’s pretty much something for everyone. On a business level there are also some insightful skills that can be learned and used in everyday situations including the workplace.
“When formulating health and wellbeing programmes, businesses must consider that one size doesn’t fit all; we are all unique and how we individually fit and work in different environments is key to understanding how we thrive and therefore contribute at our best.”
Jacqui Simpson, creative director at Bilberry Bloom® 2016
Passionate about the role the arts can play in our wellbeing.
Bilberry Bloom® provides art-based solutions that form part of businesses health and wellbeing programme.