How Art has the Power to Destress

Young adults face many stresses throughout their stages of growing up. So, how does stress come about? The obvious is clear; school, environment, home, and personal life issues. Biologically speaking there is an imbalance in the infamous hormone called cortisol when we are feeling a bit rain upon.  Just a couple miles away at Drexel University, researchers invited stressed adults of all ages to do small art activities. These activities included collage making. Working with clay, and simple paper/pen work. They were given artistic freedom, and chose to make and use the materials to their will. When the participants where asked if they felt destressed most said no, but ¾ of the participant’s cortisol levels went down. So, what can we learn from this study? First off, note that at first the participants did not feel destressed but actually where. How could this be? I believe that this can be attributed to the fact that people already have a stigma that art cannot help them feel better. This is a bit like a self-fulfilling prophecy, where one believes something about themselves, and as a result they will keep thinking whatever they wish despite the facts. Art may not clear up stress in an individual like a miracle, but it does help. It not only is effective but people learn creativity and grow a passion for something in life. One does not even have to be a world-renowned artist in order to accomplish this task. Let us look at a handful of fun and easy activities that will help you destress:

  • Collage
    • This can be done through physical paper or even digitally if that interests you. I love collaging because it can give you new fresh ideas. We have a tendency to think inside the box, but looking though old magazine and things you might not have looked through before, you will be surprised to see a lot the world can offer. In addition, just the act of cutting and pasting is extremely easy and gives the doer a feeling of gratitude and accomplishment.
  • Translate your favorite songs into doodles
    • This is one the most interesting activities in my opinion. Listen to your favorite song, or a song that moves you, and doodle what you think of while listening. This will life a weight off your shoulder and let you express yourself in a non-self-critical way. This is an extremely liberating activity.
  • Coloring books
    • Coloring books are not just for the young. Coloring books offer a great way to be able to concentrate intensely but provide a low risk environment. Did you color outside the line? No worries it is just a coloring book. To see the colors come alive gives one a break.
  • Watercolor
    • This form of paint looks mesmerizing yet is so simple. Most people look at water color and think they would never be able to do that, but that is a common misconception. Just add 2 parts water to one part of any paint, and voila you have your own paint, Water color is easy to work with, easy to clean, and looks beautiful. Just mindlessly stroke your brush on some canvas and see what unique piece you can create.

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