The Therapeutic Effects of Art: How Art Therapy Can Reduce Stress and Improve Mental Health
Art has long been regarded as a form of self-expression and creativity. Many people find solace in various forms of art, whether it be painting, drawing, or crafting. However, what many people do not realize is that art can also be therapeutic. In fact, art therapy is a legitimate form of therapy that can be used to manage stress, reduce negative behaviors, and improve overall mental health.
The Benefits of Art Therapy for Stress Reduction
In a recent study conducted by Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant professor of Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University, it was found that 45 minutes of creative activity significantly reduced stress in the body, regardless of artistic experience or talent. A total of 75% of the participants in the study experienced lowered cortisol levels (stress hormones) during their art-making session. This research provides strong evidence for the therapeutic effects of art therapy in stress reduction.
The transformative process that occurs during the art-making experience is key to the stress-reducing benefits of art therapy. The focus is not on creating a finished product, but on the process of creating. This means that anyone can reap the benefits of art therapy, regardless of their artistic ability. In fact, even simple activities like coloring in a coloring book can be therapeutic and help to reduce stress.
Simple Tips to Become Your Own Art Therapist
There are many ways to incorporate art therapy into your daily routine. Here are some simple tips to help you become your own art therapist:
1. Keep it simple: If you are not confident in your artistic ability, start with a simple coloring book and some crayons or colored pencils. Focus on the process of coloring, rather than the finished product.
2. Paint your feelings: Painting is a fun and simple way to be creative without the stress of creating a realistic image. By painting something intangible like your feelings, you won’t feel limited by your artistic inexperience.
3. Try a DIY project: If you prefer a bit more structure and need to produce a finished product, try a DIY project. Choose an activity that is suited to your level of expertise and enjoy the process of creating.
4. Draw with your non-dominant hand or paint with your toes: These activities are not just fun, they also help to improve dexterity and provide a unique creative outlet.
5. Try journaling: If writing is a way that you like to express yourself, try starting a journal. You can create lists, write short stories, or journal about your dreams or perfect world.
Art has the power to reduce stress, improve mental health, and provide a creative outlet for self-expression. Art therapy is a legitimate form of therapy that has been shown to be effective in managing stress, reducing negative behaviors, and improving overall mental health. Whether you are an experienced artist or a beginner, anyone can reap the benefits of art therapy. So pick up a paintbrush or a coloring book and start enjoying the therapeutic effects of art today.