Creating art has long been a part of the human experience. From cave paintings to thread-work tapestries, art serves many purposes in our lives, ranging from personal expression and communication to therapy and stress relief.
Creative activities like painting, drawing, sculpting, and writing have been used as a form of stress relief since ancient times.
And, today, science is backing this up!
Studies have found that individuals who engage in creative activities like painting, drawing and sculpting display lower levels of cortisol - a hormone released as part of the body’s stress response - than those who don’t. Research has also shown that participating in artistic activities increases serotonin production - a hormone which is associated with positivity and happiness - leaving artists feeling calmer after being engaged in these activities for extended periods of time. This pleasant emotional state eases symptoms associated with depression such as difficulty concentrating, lethargy, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite and restlessness.
Furthermore, it's been shown that engaging in many creative activities helps improve cognitive function by stimulating the brain’s executive functions – like problem-solving and decision-making – which can lead to increased confidence and self-esteem. Engaging with creative tasks also activates areas of the brain associated with reward processing and positive emotion regulation which can improve overall wellbeing and lower depression levels.
Art therapy has been used as an effective intervention for depression and anxiety because it provides people with a safe space to explore their feelings without fear of judgement or criticism. Through therapeutic activities such as painting, drawing, or sculpting, individuals are able to express emotions without having to verbalize them or express them through words. This allows people to gain insight into what they may be feeling on a deeper level which can then help them identify helpful coping strategies for managing their mental health concerns.
One study found that participants who engaged in art-making experienced less stress, anxiety, and depression than those who did not engage with art over the course of the study period. Additionally, creating art has been linked to improved moods, better sleep quality, fewer physical symptoms of stress, and even longer life spans.
Making art helps us to relax physically as well as mentally; it encourages us to take slow, deep breaths which can reduce our heart rate and blood pressure, while giving us the opportunity to focus on something positive instead of fixating on worrisome thoughts. Additionally, the muscles in our hands are often tense due to activities such as typing or writing; engaging in crafts or painting relieves this tension, contributing further to lowered stress levels.
It is important to note that everyone finds different forms of artistic expression more or less enjoyable; some people may prefer drawing or painting while others might find more relaxation through coloring books or playing music instruments. The most calming form of creative activity is whatever brings joy and comfort!
Making art is an effective way of reducing stress levels both mentally and physically. Even if you consider yourself artistically challenged or you haven’t tried creating anything since childhood, you can benefit from engaging in creative activities no matter what form they take! Not only will this help improve your well-being but it could even become your next favorite hobby!