by Lauren Fallat, LPC LPAT ATR-BC
Often as an art therapist, I hear many individuals express a fear of expressing themselves using art materials and this can get in the way of opening up to the process of art therapy as a pathway for healing. When this fear is explored, thoughts of not being good enough or self-doubt about one’s capabilities can often surface and reinforce these initial fears. As someone who has experienced the benefits of creative expression through art, I often think about the fear of trying something new and what is needed to overcome the fear of the unknown.
Is there any benefit to learning something new, including a new skill that we are not familiar with or may even have fear of trying? As it turns out, the answer is yes – learning something new can actually be good for our mental health. Learning a new and unexplored undertaking helps us to develop new skills, and it also helps us to form new neural connections in our brains. This is because when we learn something new, our brains are active and working hard, and this can help to keep our minds healthy and functioning well.
Here is a list of other ways learning something new can benefit our mental and emotional health:
1. It keeps your mind active and engaged.
2. It helps you stay mentally flexible and adaptable.
3. It teaches you new skills and enhances your cognitive abilities.
4. It boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem.
5. It provides a sense of life satisfaction and accomplishment.
Neuroscientists have found that learning something new has a ton of benefits for your mind. It can help protect you from age-related memory decline, keep your brain healthy, and even make you happier. Learning also releases dopamine, which contributes to feelings of pleasure and increases motivation. Additionally, when you learn something new, you're also strengthening your memory and improving your ability to focus and pay attention. In addition to these cognitive benefits, learning can also help improve your mood. Learning new things makes you feel good about yourself, and it can help combat feelings of boredom or loneliness.
For a lot of people, the fear of creating art for the first time stems from the fear of judgment. What will other people think? Will they like it? Am I good enough? This is especially true for adults who may have spent years honing their skills in other areas, only to be met with the fear that they're not good at art. The beauty of creativity is that there are no rules. You can be as creative as you want, and there is no wrong way to do it. While there may be a strong fear that arises when faced with the opportunity to try something new, there is a possibility that you might surprise yourself as you uncover a hidden or unexplored passion. You learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of. You also learn more about the world around you.
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