Abstract Art and Mental Health đź“°

Colorful Art and mental health

Whether you’re an art lover or not, many people choose to hang up artwork and paintings in their homes and workspaces because they add to the aesthetic value. But the benefits of looking at art go beyond just the way it fits in with your décor. Hanging art, especially abstract pieces with vibrant pieces, has been shown to have a number of benefits for the mind.

Read on as we look at some of the positive effects of looking at art and how artists through the ages have used this medium to express themselves.

How Looking At Art Makes You Feel

  1. It Relieves Stress. Our daily lives are full of stressors – whether it’s related to work, school, family, or more, we all experience more stress than our bodies can take. Scientific research has shown that looking at art allows us to take a moment to just step back and breathe. Not only viewing art, but creating your own masterpieces and more, all have a direct correlation with reduced stress levels.
  2. It’s A Space Away From Daily Life. In a world full of politics, greed, anxiety, trauma, and negativity, art is a positive space for us to escape to. Research has shown that actively viewing and participating in artistic activities can be coping mechanisms for people struggling with depression and other mental and emotional struggles.
  3. It Keeps the Brain Working Looking at art, particularly abstract pieces gets the cogs in our brains rolling. When we look at art, especially an abstract piece, our brain starts using our past experiences and finds ways to give meaning to a painting. We may start hunting for lines, patterns, and a form of symmetry to try and build something concrete out of an abstract painting. In some cases, these abstract pieces even function like the inkblot test and are a way for people to project what they are truly feeling inside. This also helps create a connection with the painting, and overtime, as the newness and excitement of the artwork fades, it will be replaced with a sense of familiarity and comfort. 
  4. It Makes Us Happy. Our body’s way of showing joy is by releasing certain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. Looking at art helps release these chemicals and triggers a sense of joy within us. This is where it’s also important to note that if you’re looking for abstract art to put up somewhere, don’t go with what seems to be “popular” or “sophisticated” – choose pieces that you enjoy looking at.

Art is a Way to Build Bridges

If you’re trying to build a connection with someone or just express how you feel about them, a piece of art goes a long way in showing that you care. Apart from selecting the perfect artwork, you’re opening up for them the chance to take a step back from reality and just calmly soak in the colors.

Art is best enjoyed in silence, and those few moments are a safe haven for people with very busy, full lives. Artwork is a particularly special present for people you know who have struggled with anxiety and other mental ailments that constantly keep them on edge. 

Art as a Form of Self Expression

We all know that art has therapeutic qualities, and this dates back to some of the founders of abstract painting like Pollock and Rothko, who, with just a few colors and unique painting techniques were able to show emotion to the extent that it still has the power to move people to tears. In fact, some of the spaces where Rothko’s best work is displayed have councilors on standby for people who start weeping after observing the artist’s work for a while. 

Note: Rothko suffered from extreme depression, and many of his later works feature expanses of muted colors showing his inner grief. 

Abstract Art Has Medical Benefits 

Apart from hanging art in homes and workplaces, it should also be added to hospitals and medical facilities. 

A study conducted by Neilson on 100 patients looked at the way the patients’ point of view went from negativity in an empty hospital room to showing positive signs if there were colorful paintings around, regardless of whether they were abstract or depicted concrete reality. While there is more research to be done to see if looking at artwork helps people heal faster, there is enough evidence to show that adding a pop of color to otherwise whitewashed hospitals definitely has a positive impact on patients.


There is ongoing research in the world of art and science to find out if art can be used to discover mental illness in people to find their inner troubles before it is too late. While there is little evidence to support this just yet, it’s still a work in progress.

Whether you’re looking at art as a form of therapy or to build empathy within yourself by observing the work of artists who themselves faced a number of mental struggles, the concept is so much more than finding something that looks “nice” and matches your home or other space. 

Look for artwork that has colors that move you and incite a sense of calmness and bring out your inner emotions. 

To find artistic pieces that speak to your soul and make use of some of the best techniques from the abstract art movement, head on to the Mark Humes Gallery.