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Art as an Outlet

By Samantha Forani, Graduate of McMaster University

I am a vocal person. When I have a thought or feeling, I am generally quite expressive about it. Others, however, do not work quite that way and need alternative ways to express themselves. One of these ways is through art. Now this is not just visual arts, but singing, dancing, poetry, and more. There are so many different forms of art, some forms that are not always recognized as art, but these are great ways for many people to express themselves when they find there is no other option.

Psychiatrists have often viewed art as a great outlet for people who are frustrated, confused, depressed, et cetera. Words are often hard to find, and many people will find that they can paint an image of how they feel, or perhaps turn it into a movement on a dance floor. Not everyone around them may understand what they are trying to convey, and some may not even let others see their expression, but keep it personal. But nonetheless, art is a great outlet for emotions, energy, conflict, and so on.

Writing is also often considered a therapeutic method. In fact, many notable poets from the past suffered from mental or physical ailments, and sometimes even overcame them. Therapists often recommend some sort of artistic outlet for their patients when they are struggling, and many find they feel better after creating something, whether it be a poem, painting, sketch or song.

Now I feel it is important to note that this is not just a method for those who are deemed “talented” in the arts. Just because you can only draw stick figures, and not a Mona Lisa or a Starry Night, does not mean that you cannot express yourself through art. So long as whatever you create makes you feel better after you have created something beautiful for yourself. And who knows, you may discover a talent you never knew you had.

It may be important to note as well that you do not necessarily have to create a piece of art to express yourself through it. Listening to a certain song to make you feel better, or reading a book or poem, perhaps looking at a painting that comforts you, can also be deemed expressing yourself through art, or using it as an outlet. I know that personally there is nothing like a good song to improve my mood. Whether the song is saying for me what I want to say or just cheering me up with its happy rhythm, it works.

So whatever works for you, do it. If you want to speak your mind, pop on a CD, draw your stick figures or Picassos, or sing at the top of your lungs, find what works for you, and never be afraid to express yourself.