By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory
We can’t say that we are all artists destined for fame. But most of us tend to scribble doodles, write poems, sketch, sing or do something artsy. While there is a difference in the degrees of natural expertise but if you really like doing something, it doesn’t really matter. You do not have to earn from it either. You can just do it for better mental health.
There are many researchers that have shown the positive effects of art on your health. It has shown to bring better physiological health too, as it promoted the well-being of many patients suffering from breast cancer. Plus, it can draw out negative energy from your mind and contribute to your health by forming a productive distraction from let’s say, chronic pain. And now, a study shows that it can have a significant effect on lowering your stress too. It doesn’t matter if you are talented in it or not. According to Girija Kaimal, it is not surprising as visual arts can be really expressive and in an encouraging environment, it can really have a positive effect on your mental health.
So, How Was The Experiment Done?
The study was done on 6 men and 33 women in the ages of 18 to 59. It was a diverse group with 18 of the participants having limited experience with making art, 13 being somewhat experienced and 8 having extensive experience. Each study had a duration of an hour. 15 minutes were spent on acquiring consent and collecting different data before and after the entire session. The 45 minutes that remained – the students were told to make art. The expression forms used were mostly making collages, modelling clay, and/or markers.
The participants were free to create any sort of imagery of their choice as they used the various mediums, either together or separately. An art therapist was present who would answer any questions. To check the cortisol (stress hormone) levels, saliva samples were extracted. Higher the stress hormone, greater is the stress. Finally, a written review was taken from the participants about their entire experience. According to one African-American woman, aged 38, it was relaxing and she felt less anxiety. She could put things into proper perspective without worrying about it too much.
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The Final Results
The results were quite astounding. About 75% of the participants showed a drop in cortisol levels and it did not make a difference whether any of the participants had previous experience in art-making. Neither did race or gender play any part. There was just a slight difference with age and the time of the day. Younger people had more stress reduction than older ones. Kaimal has an explanation. According to Kaimal, younger people still are trying to figure out how to manage stress while the older demographics, having more experience, already knows many stress management techniques and can keep it low from the first. As for the time of the day, stress levels are generally higher in the first half of the day and gets lowered with nighttime. That might be what pushes people to get ready for a great day ahead.
Kaimal wants to take a step further and explore the connection between stress reduction and creative expression in therapeutic environments. She wants to see how visual arts affects elderly people and caregivers too.
So, for now, make art and stay healthy!