Studies show that art therapy, coloring mandalas, and drawing in general can minimize anxiety and combat negative mood. Most of the studies have people drawing or coloring for about 20 minutes, so it’s really not necessary to be a gifted or serious artist for this stress reliever to be helpful; no artistic ability is required, in fact!
Also, the creation of something beautiful can be soothing and engulfing, as we know from research on gratifications. There are many ways you can engage in artistic activities to soothe your frazzled nerves, or just to deepen your inner peace and express yourself, and each has its own appeal, based on your personality and needs. Continue reading from Verywell Mind
Girija Kaimal, assistant professor of creative arts therapies at Drexel University, recently led a study examining the effects of making art on stress-related hormones in your body.
The results, published in Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, titled “Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants’ Responses Following Art Making,” found that 45 minutes of creative activity significantly lessens stress in the body, regardless of artistic experience or talent.
“It was surprising, and it also wasn’t,” Kaimal explained to Drexel Now. “It wasn’t surprising because that’s the core idea in art therapy: Everyone is creative and can be expressive in the visual arts when working in a supportive setting. That said, I did expect that perhaps the effects would be stronger for those with prior experience.”
The study, co-authored by Kendra Ray, a doctoral student under Kaimal, and Juan Muniz, an assistant teaching professor in the department of nutrition sciences, invited 39 adults, ranging from 18 to 59 years old, to participate. Markers, paper, clay and collage materials were amongst the tools offered up to the participants, who were instructed to create whatever they so pleased over the course of 45 minutes, with no further directives. An art therapist was on site in case the participants had any questions or concerns.
Before the crafting commenced, researchers recorded the cortisol levels of the study participants. Cortisol is a biological indicator correlated to stress — the higher your cortisol level is, the more stressed out you probably are. The participants also described their artistic experience prior to the study. Just under half described their art background as “limited.”
After the very scientific craft party, researchers again tested the participants’ cortisol levels. Approximately 75 percent of the participants displayed lower levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress levels. Although the exact amount of cortisol varied slightly amongst the participators, these levels did not correspond to their prior experience in the arts. Nor did they correspond with the artistic media the participants opted to work with, as Kaimal briefly suspected. Continue reading from Huffpost