Art has been used for centuries to help people express feeling or emotion, but it is frequently being seen how art can actually improve the feelings of the viewer. Theatre, dance and music in particular all have the ability to alter the viewer/listener's emotions and are often used as mood boosters. Simple, everyday activities such as listening to music or reading a book are particularly used to enhance or change the user's mood. Although there are many different art forms, they can all have the same outcome if used to try and improve how a person feels or how they react to situations around them. Art also has the ability to teach important life lessons to those who find them, be this through stories, plays or music with moral messages.
Performance based art was incredibly popular during both World Wars as entertainment for the troops. Although it is less well heard of now, I'm sure it is still widely used to lift soldier's spirits and to keep them entertained as it was in the early 1900s. Simple things such as listening to a song from their childhood, or watching a play they knew well could bring back good memories and remind the soldiers why they are fighting and who they are fighting for. Art helps to keep people strong in more ways than one.
Art has been becoming increasingly more popular over the last five to ten years as a form of therapy for army veterans. Both whilst serving and after returning home, soldiers are being increasingly encouraged to pursue an art form to help tackle trauma and to help them to understand what they have been through. In this way, they are able to comprehend their experience and deal emotionally with the effect it has had on them. Art therapy is used in a similar way in prisons, to help offenders to express themselves and their feelings as well as providing them with an opportunity they may not have had access to before.
Art unites people. It has the power to turn crying into laughter, shouting into quietness and fighting into love. Art has a power like no other and should be accessible to everyone, no matter where they are or what they are doing. The important thing to remember is that any form of art can help you through tough times, even if you think nothing will. I know a couple of people who turned to art when they thought no one was there for them. Not only are they much happier now, but they have continued to pursue art, and are creating wonderful pieces of work every day.