A recent study conducted by Drexel University revealed something exciting: you don’t have to be a master artist to benefit from creating it. The study found that while creating art, people’s stress levels plummeted. It seems that art therapy has been shown once again to be an effective tool for mental health. Researchers think the effects are more concentrated in supportive settings, but one could essentially practice this anywhere–on a train, at school, in a park–the options are endless! Another exciting factor is that being skilled at art doesn’t make the effect any stronger, so anyone will benefit around the same amount.
Art isn’t a “waste of time”
In the study, 75 percent of the participants started to have lower stress levels after only 45 minutes, which is a little less than the length of an art class in high school. Art is often looked at something only “true artists” can do, but this shows that getting those creative juices flowing can help anyone. Many people argue that creating art has no place in school systems, but this study proves otherwise.
Art therapy may help young people more than others
Researchers in the study found a link between lower stress levels after making art and age: it seemed younger people benefited more from creating art. Girija Kaimal, an assistant professor of creative arts therapies involved in the study, mentioned the possible help this could give to students struggling with stress. Kaimal believes the greater drop in stress in youth by partaking in art therapy is because adults have more experience with handling stress and challenges. Younger people–especially teens–are just starting to face life’s real challenges and dealing with an immense amount of stress from school, family, extracurriculars, and more.
Kaimal says he’s planning on taking what he learned in this study and continuing onto studying how “creative self-expression” may reduce stress in a therapeutic setting. Although art therapy probably can’t “cure” someone’s anxiety disorder or stress issues, it has the potential to help many learn to deal with that stress or anxiety in a way that’s fun and doesn’t require medication. Overall, it seems researchers have helped prove that art therapy can benefit many people, not a few.
For more information about the benefits of art therapy, check out Asheville Academy for Girls.