New research shows that creating arts and crafts lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. As part of our body’s fight-or-flight response, cortisol is essential for survival, but in our high-stress culture, it can end up being elevated all too often. High cortisol levels can spell serious trouble for your health in the form of inflammation, belly fat, and illness. You won’t feel your cortisol dropping when making art, but you may feel calmer and more focused. Here’s the best part: Making art can lower stress. Study benefits were tied not to artistic ability but rather to artistic endeavor, and participants used simple materials like markers, paper, and modeling clay. So bust out your watercolors, coloring book, pencils, crayons, or collage materials, and let your creativity flow!
“When you immerse yourself in the act of creating something, common thoughts and worries fall away, and you enter a state known as ‘flow,’” notes Melissa Young, MD, Cleveland Clinic