24 Mar The Therapeutic Benefits of Arts and Crafts
When we were little ones, we used to spend hours upon hours drawing, coloring, and expressing ourselves through arts and crafts. Used often as a time of relaxation and reflection, arts and crafts for kids have always been therapeutic. But, why stop as a child?
No matter what age you are, arts and crafts can be one of the most beneficial (and accessible) forms of therapy available. There is no reason for us to leave these creative skills in the classroom. Instead, we must embrace art as a form of therapy at any age, for any type of person.
Whether this is coloring at home, joining a community painting class, or signing up with a licensed art therapist, all of these will allow you the therapeutic effects of arts and crafts. From reduced anxiety to stimulating brain function, working with arts and crafts can allow for various physiological and psychological benefits.
Decreased Stress and Anxiety
Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed with uber stressed by anxiety, the simple act of drawing or coloring can help to ease that. Studies have shown that even an hour spent doing some form of art therapy can help lower overall stress levels and calm our brains. Dopamine is released and we are left feeling much better than when we started.
The more stressed that we are, the more our bodies produce the hormone cortisol. As we calm down and destress, these levels lower, suggesting that there is a direct correlation between cortisol and stress. A study conducted in 2016 measured cortisol levels in almost 40 participants, before and after art therapy. After spending only 45 minutes indulging in creative activity, 75% of participants had lowered amounts of cortisol in their bodies.
Relaxation, Distraction, and Stimulus
Along with calming us down and relieving anxiety, arts and crafts can also help to both stimulate brain function, while simultaneously distracting us from any negative thoughts or moods.
In all age groups but particularly within the elderly population, experiencing art therapy can help to stimulate brain function and performance. Specifically, art therapy can be extremely beneficial in increasing cognitive function in patients with dementia. This is due to the immersion that patients put themselves in during the creative process. Even if drawing, painting, or molding clay isn’t something that directly interests you, just the act of placing all your focus on crafting the piece of art is enough to result in stimulation, concentration, and relaxation.
In direct correlation with art therapy’s ability to distract from negative or unpleasant thoughts, working with arts and crafts can also work to mold our body’s perception of pain, shifting focus from what hurts to, instead, your creative endeavor.
That said, art therapy can help train our bodies to better handle emotional and physical responses, creating a healthy, relaxing way to manage our pain. On top of your regular treatment regimen, the added therapeutic benefits of arts and crafts can enhance your quality of life entirely.
Natural, Accessible, and Inspirational
Art therapy is a great, natural way of dealing with overwhelming stress, enhancing your mood, stimulating your mind, and so much more.
If you’ve found that you’re struggling to find a way to create balance in your life, try picking up a pen and grab some paper. No matter what your method of art therapy may be, this healthy and accessible way of managing your pain is perfect for every type of person–even if its been years since you grabbed a paintbrush.