Arts-Based Activities Boost Emotion Regulation, Study Finds

It increases positive emotions for people from all walks of life.


Nothing brings kids more joy than making art. It expresses their ideas more creatively. But as adults, participation in arts-based activities generally falls to the bottom.

No doubt, most of us even don’t take part in don’t make an effort to participate in creative writing groups or sing in the local choir.

According to a new study, participation in such arts-based activities benefit the emotions of both healthy adults and those experiencing mental health conditions. Even a previous research found that choir singing benefits the autonomic nervous system by reducing “fight-or-flight” stress responses. It also increases vagal tone (VT) of the vagus nerve.

During the study, participants reported a significant increase in positive emotions as compared with other times during the day. Scientists found that the influence of positive emotions was short-term while the effect on negative emotions lasted until evening.

Notably, adults with chronic mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders (SUD) also derived emotional benefits in comparison to a control group of healthy adults. Meanwhile, positive emotional effects produced through participation in arts-based activities in the community has implications for mental health practice and policy.

Lead author Dr. Genevieve Dingle said, “People with chronic mental health conditions tend to experience difficulties with emotion perception and regulation, which can have a big impact on their social relationships. These symptoms are not well treated with medication or psychotherapy.”

“The findings of this study are exciting because they clearly show the potential for participation in arts-based groups to influence emotions and emotion regulation in positive ways.”

Although arts-based activity provides a focal point in the day. It also brings hedonic pleasure and eudaimonic reward based on individual achievements.

The art based group even provide social support. It distracts someone from negative rumination about his or her life by shifting focus to positive stimuli in a social context.

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