Making art is good for your health
Yes, you read that headline correctly. Doing pretty much anything creative—making any sort of artwork, even if you totally “suck” at it has been proven in study after study (after study) to improve your mental health and well-being. (And hey, don’t talk to yourself like that. You’re doing just fine!)
Many of the studies looked at making visual art, whether by drawing, sketching, sculpting, or painting, and it really didn’t matter what medium the participants use. So whether they used pencils, crayons, charcoals, watercolors, acrylic paints, oil paints, clay, pottery, wood, metal, or what-have-you, the benefits were seen. Whether the participants created a masterpiece, crafted a wobbly bowl out of clay, or drew barely recognizable stick figures, the benefits were seen.
Creating artwork, no matter how polished or crude, is shown to lower stress levels. Specifically, it helps to reduce stress hormones—such as cortisol—in the body. It has also been shown to arrest or slow cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia conditions. That is seen (literally) in the film “I Remember Better When I Paint”. There is also a book of the same name—you can find links to them in the sidebar. Both are about how art helps people with Alzheimer’s disease, from actress Rita Hayward to Hilgos (Hilga Goldblatt Gorenstein), a patient with Alzheimer’s, who saw improvements in her condition and life when she started making art.
Remember: It’s the doing that matters. Which means that you cannot get this wrong. Doing anything artistic is its own reward—it can reduce stress, reduce the likelihood (or depth of) depression, and increase positive emotions. Can’t think what you might want to do? Grab the free download!