Reconnecting with your creative energy is a vital component of self-care and contributes to your overall wellbeing. It is all too common for us to allow ourselves to give up on passionate, artistic pursuits as the grind of daily life takes precedence over these vital aspects of ourselves. However, art is shown to help heal and restore, lowering stress levels and improving cognition. Just as we make time to exercise our bodies, exercising our creativity is important throughout our lives. While we cannot quantify the numerous benefits of making art in adulthood, there are studies with evidence to support this claim.
Lower stress- A study out of Drexel University showed that just 45 minutes of making art helped reduce levels of stress-related hormones throughout the body. Participants in the study were given materials to create whatever they wanted. After the session, 75% of participants had lower levels of cortisol, the flight-or-flight hormone that triggers stress in the body.
Improve cognition- Educators are always fighting for the inclusion of arts in school curriculums, and there is research to back up the importance of these programs. A 2019 study out of Rice University tracked the performance of 10,000 Texas high school students and found that their performance on state writing tests improved when they participated in arts programs.
Boost your mood- Art is closely connected to the psychological concept of mindfulness, which is a meditative state of keeping one’s awareness in the present moment. When you’re making art, you enter a state of flow, which means you’re fully engaged in what you’re doing and not distracted by your thoughts. Art therapy, which became popularized in the 1940s, is rooted in the idea that creating art liberates us from cycles of negative thoughts and feelings. Since then, numerous studies have reinforced the idea that creating art supports mental health; a 2017 study out of Indiana University used MrI technology to compare brain activity when engaged in artistic creation versus rote fine motor tasks. After making art, activity across both hemispheres of the brain was heightened, which means greater neural communication was taking place (https://www.pnas.org/content/116/3/707).