From UCLA Health’s Healthy Years newsletter
“Watching an artist paint, a dancer gracefully glide across the stage or a singer belt out a happy tune is witnessing bliss personified. Children can find that joyful state of absorption rather easily: A single crayon on paper can do it. As adults, however, we often lose that sense of blissful play, but it can be found again.
‘Because the arts serve as an emotional and physical outlet, they also help to decrease stress and combat depression and loneliness,’ explains Erica Curtis, board certified art therapist and instructor for the UCLA Arts and Healing Social Emotional Arts (SEA) certificate program. ‘It’s a healthy means of distraction from pains, discomfort or other stressors.’
The Power of Making Music Together
Researchers from the University of Oxford wanted to explore whether singing was a special type of bonding behavior or whether any group activity would build bonds among members. To test the theory, they set up seven courses: four in singing, two in crafts and one in creative writing. Each course, made up of weekly sessions, ran for seven months. Those attending the classes were given surveys before and after individual sessions in the first month, in the third month and at the end of the course. In the surveys, they were asked to rate how close they felt to their classmates.
At the end of the seven months, all the participants reported similar levels of closeness, but those in the singing group stated feeling closer to their classmates earlier in the process.
Singing also requires breath control, which can improve lung function and decrease stress. A small study found that regular singing might have a positive effect for those who have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
Learning to play an instrument, or dusting off one you used to play, can work wonders on your mood. A study published in the journal Mental Health Practice found that the use of music as a therapy for people over the age of 65 has a positive influence on well-being by providing enjoyment, social interaction, improved memory and social inclusion.
Moving Your Feet to the Beat Feels Good and May Reduce Fall Risk
Osteoarthritis is common in older adults, and movement helps improve circulation to ease the pain of arthritis. Dancing alone or with others can be a great way to feel better fast.” Read more