Expressing onself freely in the company of others creates the potential for change,
improving both physical and mental health.
The Positive Effects of Visual Arts Imagery
In a UCLA research study published in the journal Psychological Science, mental representations of positive imagery yielded not only greater positive attitudes, but an actual higher tolerance to physical pain.
– The Washington Post, Rob Stein, Nov. 2009
Evidence based studies on Visualization and Lucid Dreaming
Research conducted with women diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder accompanied by nightmares concluded that re-narration and rehearsal visualization yielded improved sleep, fewer disturbing dreams, and general decreased symptomotology.
– "Turning Nightmares into Dreams", Barry Krakow, MD
– "Nightmare Scenario", Margaret Talbot, New Yorker Magazine
– Journal of the American Medical Association, Barry Krakow, MD
Poetry, Language, and the Power of Articulation
M.S. Wylie writes that "Words can starve and words can nourish; words can imprison us and words can set us free." Naming something creates an opportunity to address it directly and choose to be an active change agent. Coming to terms with the limitations of circumstance with the use of language (sometimes even sentence fragments can be powerful), empowers us to re-narrate our present, and re-imagine our future.
– Breaking Through, Mary Sykes Wylie, Psychotherapy Networker, Nov/Dec 2008
Greater Health and Healing in Community:We're wired to connect and brains are designed to be social, asserts Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., in his book Social Intelligence (Bantum Books). Studies show that our brains never stop evolving. Stem cells, in fact, "manufacture 10,000 brain calls every day till you die... Social interaction helps neurogenesis. The brain rises to the occasion the more you challenge it." Stress produces a harmful chemical called cortisol, which interferes with certain immune cell functions. Positive interactions prompt the body to secrete oxytocin (the same chemical released during lovemaking), boosting the immune system and decreasing stress hormones.
– We're Wired to Connect, Mark Matousek, AARP Bulletin, Jan/Feb 2007
George Albee, former president of the American Psychological Association taught that although life stress was unavoidable,it only became pathology when people lacked the social support to counterbalance it. The more support, the less anxiety, depression, and other psychological suffering; the less support, the more dysfunction. The "formula for preventing mental illness" , he asserted, lay in connection with a supportive and positive community.
– The Passing of a Visionary, Wray Herbert, Psychotherapy Networker, Sept/Oct 2006
Studies by Harvard University professor Nicholas A.Christakis, MD, PhD, underscore the "amazing power of social networks and how they shape our lives", particularly in respect to their ability to reinforce happiness.