The human race has a deep connection to art. We’ve been making art for as long as we’ve existed on this planet.
Art is as valuable to our culture as it is to us on an individual emotional and intellectual level. For us, making art just for the sake of making it is reason enough to do it.
Research has shown that our minds are built to enjoy art and create it, no matter how skilled we may be at it.
Art, in all its multitudes of forms, has many benefits that are backed by scientific research. Here are a few of them:
Art Reduces Stress And Anxiety:
A study published in the journal Art Therapy found that participating in making art for just 45 minutes was enough to reduce the stress hormone cortisol level in the subjects’ saliva.
Another study found that making art was effective at reducing anxiety levels for first-year college students. Just 30 minutes of painting was enough to decrease anxiety for those preparing for their final exams.
Art classes were also effective in reducing anxiety and stress for those taking care of ill family members.
Art allows us to ground ourselves and take a break from everyday stressors, which is why it may be so helpful for stress-relief.
Making Visual Art Helps Create Neural Connections:
A 2014 study found that creating visual art enhanced the brain’s ability to make connections.
This process is known as the default mode network and is active when we are daydreaming, relaxing, or making plans for the future.
Past studies suggest that when a piece of art affects us emotionally, those feelings occur because of the default mode network activity.
This means that art creates deep intrinsic connections with humans and can create peace “between the external world and our inner representation of the self.”
Making Art Can Help Us Overcome Sadness:
Creating art is a therapeutic way of distracting ourselves from sadness.
In a laboratory experiment, participants were shown a heartbreaking documentary to create sad feelings. They were then asked to make art related to the film, make unrelated art, or sit quietly.
The group that was making unrelated art effectively distracted themselves from the unhappy feelings compared to those sitting in sadness or making related art.
Sketching Improves Focus:
Mindless sketching, or doodling, is proved to have many cognitive benefits as well.
According to The Atlantic, it can help us pay more attention when listening to something we find boring and remember it later. Moreover, it keeps us focused on the task at hand and prevents idle thoughts.
Another study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology concluded that participants were able to recall 29% more information if they were doodling than those that weren’t.
As evidenced above, making art can benefit us in more ways than one. Artistic pursuits can help improve our moods and enhance our brain function. One of the best ways to indulge in art is with our paint by numbers kits.