Drawing has a surprising number of benefits when it comes to our physical and mental health. Many of us have not put pencil to paper since we were at school, but if we want a better memory, higher levels of focus and reduced cortisol levels, maybe we should consider dusting off our sketch book?
Better Mental Health – No Artistic Talent Required
The Journal of the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) looked at the impact of making art on stress levels. Participants took part in art making for just 45 minutes, after which researchers measured significant reductions in cortisol in 75% of the group. Experience and ‘talent’ were shown to bear no correlation with reduced stress levels, with the end product being far less important than the process of making art.
In a recent survey we asked one thousand participants of our online art classes, whether they felt the sessions impacted their mental health. Our participants are mostly employees in the professional services, tech and pharmaceutical sectors (not professional artists) and 92% reported that the sessions had had a positive impact on their mental health.
Growing Older – Making Art Beats Reading Books
A report from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging showed that people over 70 who made art had a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment than did those who read books. We are certainly not suggesting that reading books isn’t good for you but consider making art alongside to ward off cognitive impairment. A study on German retirees also found increased spatial reasoning and emotional resilience in those who made art.
Improving Memory – Always Doodle On The Phone
In 2009, psychologist Jackie Andrade of Plymouth University asked participants to monitor a dull and lengthy voicemail. Half of the participants doodled while they listened and the other half did not. Those who drew during the call recalled 29% more information.
Research carried out at the University of Waterloo in Canada summarised that, “drawing improves memory by encouraging a seamless integration of semantic, visual, and motor aspects of a memory trace.”
Personal Development – Create, Overcome And Thrive
According to the National Centre of Biotechnology Information, drawing teaches us to think flexibly, encouraging open-ended thought and creativity. Problem solving and critical thinking skills are supported by uninterrupted sketching leading to new insights and creative thoughts.
Personal development is also a key benefit of drawing. In our recent survey, 94% of online art class participants felt that the sessions improved their skills. In the study carried out by the The Journal of the American Art Therapy Association participants reported that making art taught them something about themselves and that they enjoyed the evolving process of initial struggle to later resolution that learning offered them.
Come and join our live online group art classes. Join us in a friendly environment to hone your drawing or painting skills or relax and become more present with our mindful drawing sessions. Click here to learn more about how to enrol your team in online art classes.