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Does Art Reduce Stress?

Does Art Reduce Stress_theartcrafttherapyroom

Any form of art, from modeling clay pots to making rough sketches of your favorite anime characters, satisfies the mind disconnecting it from the hustle and bustle of daily mundane life. Art is surely a stress buster.


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Remember how the toddler smiles when he scribbles or how the painter maintains a contented face as he fills the canvas with vibrant colors, that’s happiness right there painted magnificently. After long hours of boring paperwork or back breaking chores pick up your brush and dab it onto your watercolors and watch all your worries wash away as you create a soothing picture on paper. This happens because activities which make you happy like drawing cause tiny glands in our bodies to secrete dopamine – the hormone that makes us happy. Just get down with your construction paper, model clay, feathers, glitter glue, pipe cleaners, acrylic or oil paints etc.



Now all of this have been put to test recently by Girija Kaimal, a professor at Drexel University. The study examined the effects of art making on stress related hormones in our bodies. The results were astounding, just 45 minutes of art making activity lessens stress significantly regardless of whether the person has prior artistic experience or prowess.



The professor was not much surprised as he expected the effects to be stronger in people with past experiences but that’s the beauty of art it reduces stress in everyone. 39 adults ranging from 18 to 59 years of age participated in this test. They were given markers, papers, clay, paints, watercolors and other collage materials to do whatever they pleased to do with them over the next 45 minutes with no further instructions.



Before the test the cortisol levels of the participants were recorded. Cortisol is a biological indicator present in the body that causes stress when it rises. Below 50% of the study participants were not into regular art making. After the test the cortisol levels were measured and was found to be lower in 75% of the participants. The levels did not correspond with either their prior artistic experience or the media they used.



There is good news for young people as there exists a correlation between low cortisol levels and young participants. Perhaps this is due to the fact that young people are developmentally still into the process of how to deal with stress and life’s challenges while older ones have effectively gone through that phase having lived life longer.



All in all such other tests have been conducted before and the results are surprisingly similar displaying the superior power of art in greatly destroying your worries and anxieties. Next time you feel sad and dejected just set up your easel and canvas in open space, preferably in the balcony or the yard, and just play with those colors. Use anything you like, even your fingers with nothing held back. Call over some friends as group activities are better than solo ones. Splash the watercolors onto one another bidding farewell to stress and tension.


Image source: Rachael Gorjestani (unsplash)
Writing Source: A Mim Likhon

Does Art Reduce Stress? by The Art & Craft Therapy Room
Does Art Reduce Stress? by The Art & Craft Therapy Room

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