Should making art be exclusively reserved for those who have ‘talent’? The answer is no. Making art is for everyone and here’s why…
The Journal of the American Art Therapy Association carried out a study on the impact of making art on cortisol levels. Participants took part in a creative activity for just forty-five minutes with cortisol levels being measured before and after.
Researchers found that 75% of participants experienced a significant reduction in cortisol. This was the case for participants whether they were experienced in making art or whether they were particularly talented. Experience and talent were totally irrelevant when it came to experiencing decreased levels of cortisol. “It’s the process, not the product,” says Megan Carleton, an art therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital that has the impact.
Participants also reported that making art was:
- Helpful in learning about themselves
- An evolving process of initial struggle to later resolution
- Freeing from constraints
- Conducive to flow and losing themselves in the work
- Prompted a desire to make art in the future
What Is Cortisol?
Cortisol is an important hormone and key player in the stress response. Doctors from the Physical Therapy Department at the University of Florida define its impact in this way:
“In the presence of a physical or psychological threat, cortisol levels surge to provide the energy and substrate necessary to cope with stress-provoking stimuli or escape from danger. However, although a stress-induced increase in cortisol secretion is adaptive in the short-term, excessive or prolonged cortisol secretion may have crippling effects, both physically and psychologically.”
The Long-Term Impact of Cortisol
According to the Mayo Clinic, the long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol can have damaging consequences for our minds and bodies. Health problems that can arise as a result:
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
What Can You Do For Your Team?
Offering your team the opportunity to make art on a regular basis is a great way to support them in reducing cortisol levels and enhancing their wellbeing. It doesn’t require any experience or any talent, it just requires an hour of putting pencil to paper and the benefits will speak for themselves.
Click here to learn more about our live online art classes for business teams.