The Art of Well-Being
Art has a powerful effect on well-being. Artistic expression can help achieve a sense of wellness and it has been recognized throughout history for its benefits to emotional health.
Studies have corroborated the benefits of engaging in artistic expression. For children, arts education leads to improved academic performance, better motor skills, fewer disciplinary infractions, enhanced ability to focus, more confidence, and, perhaps most significantly, improved collaboration.
Similarly adults who engage in art making - in any type of the vast range of modalities such as: dance, music, drama, creative writing, storytelling, poetry, mask making, architecture, fashion, journaling, graphic arts, comics, animation, sculpture, knitting, crocheting, weaving, needlepoint, photography, baking, pottery, drawing, sketching, and painting - also benefit. Creative enterprises empower, engage, stimulate positive emotions, and release imagination. Making art can also energize and calm. Engaging in a creative activity can renew the spirit because art enlivens. Vibrant colors invigorate and pastel hues soothe, and the physicality of painting revitalizes and feels productive. Negative emotions can dissipate as work proceeds.
Creativity Connections recognizes that everyone has the potential to achieve wellness through creativity with applied techniques. It’s about how the very process of making art and reflecting about the work created can enlighten, soothe, empower and energize. It can, in essence, promote health.
Over 70 years ago the World Health Organization observed that “health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Each individual’s unique creation allows for insights to be gleaned and emotions to be released, sub-consciously and consciously. You don’t have to define yourself as an “artist” to create art. Creativity Connections is about creating a space and about using a modality to explore, uncover, and discover more about yourself and find a balance within to foster wellness.
The process of Creativity Connections can help retrieve and release positive and negative memories, reduce anxiety, and inspire new perspectives, including by enabling one to embark on a path to emotional lability and innovative accomplishment. Engaging in a creative enterprise is a positive, productive, and laudable venture. Feelings ranging from lethargy, boredom and malaise to clinical depression, grief, and anxiety can dissipate as the work proceeds.
It’s been shown in studies of both rodents and humans that “just seeing someone else in pain can make you feel worse, too. In other words, pain is contagious and transmittable.” It seems reasonable to infer that the opposite is true as well, that sharing positive emotions and experiences likewise can be “contagious and transmittable.” Participating in a group engaged in a shared creative enterprise can generate good feelings, something that the leader of the group can help spur by fostering a synergistic climate of collaboration and compliments.
Recognize that the self thrives on inspiration, productivity, beauty, and imagination.
Using a Creativity Connections program as an investment in yourself and your community (organizational or personal) is a formidable catalyst for well-being as it enchants, palliates, calms, uplifts, replenishes, and nurtures. Art making mobilizes momentum and propels productivity. Inner resources are strengthened, hope is fostered, lethargy is mitigated and resiliency is corroborated.
Bringing art into one’s life brings a sense of joy. Art can bring even more: it can bring a sense of tranquility, empowerment, and emotional release, and it can help you to orient yourself within the world around you. Creativity Connections helps you connect through artistic expression - with yourself and with others. Regardless of your perceived skill or prior work in art, you can tap into your own creativity, and you can empower others, to explore emotions and experience. You’ll gain insights into how both the process and the work you create enable self-growth as you interpret your work without judgment.
Madeleine Schachter has exhibited her work in seven countries and has worked with children in homeless shelters, inmates in a jail, survivors of domestic violence, and Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. She has also worked with medical staff at Northwell Health Lenox Hill Hospital, the staff of patient capital investors in social entrepreneurs Acumen, and the employees of cablecaster CNBC, and she has trained Syrian and Lebanese teachers to work with refugee children. From working with individuals to empowering those experiencing challenges to conducting team building exercises to facilitating self care for those in carer positions to training others to use the method, Madeleine leaves participants feeling energized, soothed, and connected to themselves and to their communities.
Birch Cove helps business and organization assess, plan, and organize sessions for Creativity Connections. Madeleine Schachter has written a book that gives more insight and explanation into what and how to approach and facilitate sessions that inspire wellness through artistic expression.