Why not cheer yourself and look at some art? It's widely known that art therapy can help us however it usually means doing a bit of creativity ourselves, its a hands on therapy that requires willing effort. I don't know about you but when I feel depressed, I don't fancy getting out the pens and paper. I just like to watch youtube videos and listen to the radio. I do those things anyway but usually as part of a much more varied agenda. But going to see art? Sounds promising. Many museums are not free, so when we're offered an opportunity to go to a paid exhibit for nothing then that ought to be enough to cheer someone up straight away. If the condition truly is clinical and a bit of good news doesn't do the trick, then up to fifty prescriptions are on offer to compliment the more traditional therapies. I imagine this means antidepressants and talking therapy.
Exercise has been a prescription option for many doctors before, however now in Toronto Canada as of 1st November, museum visits are available to hand out as needed. Does looking at art make you feel better? Perhaps not initially however I think the benefit is in the settling in and the subconscious processing of it afterwards. Sometimes to get the brain working we have to warm it up, like a car on a cold day. When we're depressed, our brain is perhaps a little stiff in the places that keep us in high spirits. Perhaps they've been over-used or stressed out in the past which is why they have trouble now. We can relearn how to feel good as long as we do put in conscious effort daily.
Having somewhere to go and a whole plethora of new conversation starters can be really handy to improve our social life and confidence in groups. Have you ever felt that no-one would care if you mentioned your week, or day? That's why we do interesting things, not only for ourselves but to help us get on with those conversations and social occasions we all want to take part in. Perhaps a trip or two to the museum will help to get those cogs into motion?
Even in the UK, the arts are being recognised for their massive contribution to mental and social wellness. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing Inquiry states that:
“We are calling for an informed and open minded willingness to accept that the arts can make a significant contribution to addressing a number of the pressing issues faced by our health and social care systems. ” Rt. Hon. Lord Howarth of Newport Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing.
Sometimes art can be a little out of reach to the everyday person, the prices and the language used plus the cultural differences between traditional art lovers and the interested others can all mount up to a wall of division. Breaking this down is a way of making sure that we all have an equal ability to go and experience art from a variety of perspectives. This whole concept echoes the idea that began Alternative Fruit. I saw a world with a lot of sickness, young people committing violent crimes, finding a sense of belonging in gangs, taking out their frustrations in destructive ways, and I thought that the best thing I can do is to begin opening the art world up just a little more and putting in front of people. Five years later, Alternative Fruit is still here and with more regular readers than ever.
If you live in Toronto then ask about prescriptions to the museum, and everyone else keep reading this site and share the links with your friends. It's good for you. Via BBC USA and Canada.
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