How the Performing Arts Benefit Mental Health

In today’s high pressure society, our kids are over worked, over stressed and held to overwhelming standards. Social media and 24 hour news have added pressures that prior generations did not have to manage. While kids are resilient, many are searching for help, for an outlet where they can express themselves. In many communities, that outlet is the performing arts. The performing arts have been scientifically proven to help kids overcome anxiety, depression, and offer emotional release.  

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5 Ways the Performing Arts Benefit Mental Health:

  1. Creativity increases happiness. Being creative can positively impact your mood. When someone is using their creative side of their brain, they are no longer in the reactive brain. A wandering mind is an unhappy mind, whereas a creative mind is focused on the present task at hand. While being creative, we can improve our emotions and reduce negative ones.  

  2. Encourages real life interactions. The performing arts offer opportunities for kids, teens and adults to come together in a community setting that demands in-person interaction. With increased levels of screen-time, less people are engaging with one another face to face. The performing arts get people out from behind their screens and puts them into a positive social setting, where they can build important social skills. Face to face interaction also promotes belonging and community. Research supports that real life group engagement improves mood and decreases depression.   

  3. Builds confidence. Performing requires actors to face their anxieties and be vulnerable as they display their talent in front of other people. Specifically, improvisation helps build important coping skills to decrease anxiety through a positive, non-judgmental and low stakes environment.   

  4. Safe space to share emotions. The performing arts offer a safe environment to express or reflect on difficult emotions. Through the arts, performers can focus, process and release their emotions in a way that is helpful for managing mental health.

  5. The arts help us all. The beauty created in the arts through music, performance and language is beneficial to the  audience. When we enjoy something, we get out of our heads and into the art, which creates profound emotional healing.

Unfortunately, not every community has a special, safe space that allows creativity to flow and provides an arena for the performing arts to flourish.  In Plymouth, Michigan we have an opportunity to foster greater emotional well-being for our kids, teens and community at large. On November 6th, the community will vote on whether to fund a millage to support the renovation and addition of a theater at PARC.

In our opinion as mental health advocates, we are voting on much more than that. If the community loses PARC, our kids will suffer. In a time where gun violence is a growing epidemic in our schools, suicide rates continue to rise, and cyber bullying is at an all-time high, why would we ever consider voting against such an enriching space? Should we be more concerned about paying a couple more tax dollars, or our children’s future success?

The choice is ours. #VoteYesforPARC  

Mental Health Resources:

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