Life begins at Halcyon

The art of pressing your ‘happy buttons’

17 September 2019 | by Halcyon

Research increasingly shows that unlocking and expressing creativity through visual art is good for our health and well-being. We spoke to some of our home owners about the benefits they reap from their artistic endeavours.

The desire to create and learn brings many Halcyon home owners together to craft their own works of art. As they do, there’s something else taking shape: feelings of happiness, connection, contentment, achievement and even surprise.

Passionate potter Jeanette Burke has been creating with clay for years and teaches the craft to her fellow home owners at Halcyon Lakeside. She said that shaping clay in the community’s Creative Arts Precinct melts away loneliness, stress and boredom while firing up the mind and getting the creative juices flowing.

“It’s a confidence booster and it certainly does improve your mood if you’re stressed,” she said. “You get to have great interaction with your fellow neighbour because you get a chance to sit and chat whilst you’re creating your own ‘masterpiece’.

“Some people who are lonely come down and you hear them say ‘gosh where did that three hours go’. “Clay can be very challenging at times, but it gets the mind off other things such as loneliness or boredom. “It makes you happier in spirit, that’s for sure.”

Jeanette gains tremendous satisfaction from seeing others discover a side of themselves they didn’t think existed. “We start off by thinking that we don’t have a creative bone in our body but often you end up with something you’re very proud to put in your garden or display in your home,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful thing to see them creating pieces that they thought they could never do. “They’re so proud of what they’ve done and that gives me a huge feeling of worth.”

Jeanette’s observations reflect findings published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2010 entitled, The Connection Between Art, Healing and Public Health in which researchers analysed more than 100 studies on the topic.

They found that visual art can reduce stress and anxiety, improve medical outcomes, improve well-being by decreasing negative emotions, and even boost the immune system. Julie Wood from Halcyon Lakeside’s Mosaic Group said the decorative craft is an absorbing, and sometimes addictive, hobby that encourages creativity, focus and a sense of calm.

“Some of the ladies say that once they start concentrating on their piece their mind just drifts away onto what they are doing and all their troubles and problems are forgotten,” she said.

Julie said there were also social benefits of the group with plenty of chatting and laughter as they worked together in the studio. Halcyon Greens’ Art Group founder Bob Martin said art is a chance to disconnect from our busy, technology-dominated world and discover something inside ourselves.

He said drawing and painting are empowering, rewarding and can press your ‘happy buttons’. “Every step of the way you’re learning something and it’s enriching your life,” he said.

“You’re experiencing something that you’re in control of, instead of technology showing you and doing everything for you.” Bob said the creative process was just as important as the outcome.

“When you’re working on art you just get lost in it and time disappears, that’s the zone you get into,” he said. “Just going through the process makes it interesting and exciting.

“You get this enormous rush of chemistry that runs through your veins and then there’s a feeling of serenity and peace of mind after it. “If you enjoy something then they are the happy buttons in your life.”

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