Mental health is a hot-button topic these days. Everyone has advice and suggestions on how to stay positive and fight the feeling of being alone.
One place you can go to find a group of like-minded individuals in the performing arts. Musicians and actors alike attest to their participation in the performing arts having a positive impact on their mental health.
There is something magical about being a performer, which leaves you with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that can get you through the worst times.
Amanda Coughenhour has been a music educator for three years, and a musician and actress for almost twenty. She believes the bonds and connections you make between fellow performers are special, and they are what keeps her coming back for more. She says,
“The aesthetic moments in performing are addictive. Once you feel that ‘mountaintop moment’ of a great performance, you crave that feeling over and over again.
The ability to connect with your audience is remarkable- you can make them feel emotions, recall memories, and make them forget about the world outside.”
Amanda also notes that important life lessons can be learned through participation in the arts. She remembers auditioning for theatrical roles and having to come to terms with being cast in a role other than what she wanted. When reminiscing about these struggles, Amanda mentioned,
“In life, things don’t always work out the way you hope. Music and the arts have taught me the lesson of gracefully accepting things that are out of my control and focusing on how I can be my best self in each situation.”
Phill Haney has been a musician for the past decade. He remarked upon the importance of performing as an emotional outlet.
“As a younger student, I was a very angry and angst-filled adolescent. As I grew up and I worked on my craft, I used the arts as a form of expression and I learned how to channel my emotions through music.”
Phill echoed Amanda by discussing the wonderful feeling of being part of something bigger than oneself, as part of a performing ensemble.
He encourages anyone who feels lonely or left out to join a performing group, even if you don’t think you know enough or have the skills to be part of the group.
“Remember,” Phill says, “you’ll have a group of supporters that will cheer you on every step of the way. Because in a way, their success is dependent on your success. And, therefore, they will do anything to help you reach your highest potential.”
Nothing can be better for a teen or adult’s mental health than being surrounded by a group of people who accept, encourage, and support you, no matter what.
Certainly, the arts are not the only place you can find this sense of team, acceptance, and accomplishment. But it is an outlet for those that might feel like they do not fit anywhere else.
Most times, those who join a band or a theatre program fall in love and soon feel like they cannot live without it.
So, if you need support, need a creative outlet, or just want to try something fun and new, try the performing arts. They will always welcome you with open arms, believe in you, and make you feel important.