With ongoing pressures on our health and social care systems, now is the time to recognise the powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and wellbeing. Rachel Massey, Arts & Wellbeing Coordinator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, explains more.
Wellbeing is something that affects us all, and thanks to an influx of self-help guides, courses and retreats on offer, wellbeing has become a bit of a buzzword! The hype is justified. Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem; obesity levels are on the rise; and social isolation affects many, our ageing population in particular. The time has come to recognise how important it is to look after our mental and physical health.
We understand, better than ever before, the complex relationship between our emotional resilience and our physical health. We know more about how poverty and poor education negatively impact health. Studies prove that exposure to nature and art can improve wellbeing, reduce stress and even extend lifespan. But it doesn’t stop there, the arts can help meet major challenges facing health and social care and help to save local services money.
At YSP, we believe that relationships with others, a sense of creativity, purpose and connectedness are really important. We’re also strong believers in the healing powers of cake! Art, creativity and nature combine to provide a place for people to stimulate their mind, body and soul. Whether it’s daydreaming and relearning the skill of being idle, connecting with nature and fresh air, reawakening your creativity, or just having a moment of solace with a sculpture, it all helps.
Working with a qualified practitioner and using mindfulness practices, our regular Still Looking events encourage participants to move from passively observing to more active engagement with an artwork. Through guided meditation, the event has the dual aim of helping you to appreciate art differently and also helping you to understand and get to know yourself better.
Our seasonal Room to Breathe walk is an opportunity to spend a day at YSP walking, thinking, talking and gaining some insight into the things that are on your mind. Led by a GP and Group Analyst, the event offers time for informal talking as well as structured space for speaking and thinking as a group. The walk is structured to help participants find areas they need to focus on, decisions they need to make, problems they need to resolve, and then the space to explore these.
Our regular Art & Wellbeing events, which also include Art and Social for Over 55s, Botanicals: Hips and Haws and Mindful Walk at YSP, are open to all. Any profits generated from these events help support our wider work, including developing projects to make our offers accessible to those experiencing social, mental, economic or physical barriers.
Find out more about Art & Wellbeing at YSP
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