Whether it’s from work, school or a busy personal life, everyone is subject to stress. It is reported that 75 percent of adults experience moderate to high levels of stress on a monthly basis. According to the American Psychological Association stress is a top health concern for U.S. teens and if not dealt with correctly this pressure could have serious long-term health implications.
For most, finding a healthy coping mechanism like working out or spending time outside works but for others, the pressure may be too severe. While these activities above are a great way to help destress, there is another method that has been proven to help calm us during difficult times.
April is National Stress Awareness Month and art is great way to celebrate. Exploring your creative side is a form of psychotherapy that encourages free self-expression through painting, drawing or other genres. As the owner of a shared space designed specifically for artists, I’ve been able to see creativity aid in various forms of stress relief. Below are reasons that artists at my center credit for helping them calm down during times of anxiety.
Forcing yourself to focus on art, such as painting, immediately requires you to take your mind off whatever problem you are facing. For those who see their stress manifest as physical symptoms, concentrating on the piece at hand can help slow breathing and calm a racing heart. Studies have proven that creating art can stimulate the release of dopamine, the chemical in your brain known as the “feel-good hormone”. It also offers the chance to disconnect from any electronics, which are sometimes the source of the problem.
Creating art demands a strong attention to detail. Line by line and stroke by stroke, you are forcing your brain work to be as precise and steady as possible. Making a routine of this can actually improve your focus and better yet, how you process your thoughts. This is a habit which can help you during future stressful situations and allow you to manage any overwhelming emotions with more mental clarity.
It goes without saying, but taking up art as a hobby is the ultimate way to tap into the creative energy you have stored inside. The number one piece of advice I’ve received from the artists in my center is to try all genres. Whether it’s painting, photography or sculpting, all forms can provide relief and will allow you to decide which is most beneficial for you. You’ll also have a great byproduct: pieces you can use as décor or give as gifts.
Michelle Biely is the founder and owner of the Creative Center of Scottsdale. Located on 3616 N. Scottsdale Rd., the center provides open workspaces, private offices, daily meeting areas, an outdoor event courtyard and a second-story patio to sole proprietors and artists of all kinds. It is located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale in what was Mandall’s Shooting Supplies. They can be found on Facebook, Instagram and creativecenterscottsdale.com.