The Surprising Mental Health Benefits of Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts can be a fun way to improve mental health and encourage self-expression. 

Arts and crafts have been an important part of society for thousands of years. 

Simple early etches on cave walls eventually evolved into masterwork paintings and the artistic functional decor found in many homes today. 

The benefits of arts and crafts for mental health are wide and numerous. You can try various projects from your home with a few basic supplies, or join workshops and groups to enhance the benefits. 

The best thing about arts and crafts is that you don’t need any special skills to start. The essence of art therapy is to express yourself in a way that feels right to you. 

Why arts and crafts are good for your mental health? 

Arts and crafts are byproducts of the natural desire to express emotion creatively. This creative expression has helped unite society under a shared appreciation and admiration for beauty and the creative process. 

A 2018 review of studiesTrusted Source found that arts and crafts can help manage stress. Chronic stress is considered a gateway to many illnesses, and it can make you feel angry, anxious, or irritated. 

Arts and crafts activities serve as an outlet to release these challenging emotions in a personal and expressive manner. 

Performing arts and crafts with a group can also be beneficial. A 2021 studyTrusted Source found that group craftwork encourages the sharing of ideas and perspectives and also strengthens your sense of connection to society. 

The importance of social connectedness continues to be demonstrated as a key component of mental health. In fact, a 2017 study found that engaging more with society can play a crucial role in mental health and well-being. 

The benefits of arts and crafts 

The specific benefits of various arts and crafts for mental health have been richly explored for good reason. 

A 2020 studyTrusted Source suggested that arts and crafts can have favorable and diverse impacts on mental health for caregivers in need of support. These benefits included improvements in: 

  • empathy 
  • self-esteem 
  • resilience 
  • empowerment 

A 2019 review of studiesTrusted Source found that even just the experience of going to an art museum to admire art can promote psychological well-being. 

A 2020 reviewTrusted Source indicated that art therapies offer potential benefits for children in need of mental health services. These benefits included improved: 

  • Mood 
  • Quality of life 
  • Coping behaviors 

The authors of the review also noted that the conclusions were limited by a lack of consistent data. 

Types of craftwork

Various types of craftwork have been shown to have an effect on specific mental health conditions, such as: 

  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) 
  • anxiety 
  • schizophrenia 


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