Making Art Reduces Stress Hormones
Whether you’re a Rembrandt or can just about manage to draw a stick figure, creating art can help to reduce cortisol levels.
Kaimal, Girija, Ray, Kendra and Muniz, Juan. (2016). Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants’ Responses Following Art Making. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association. 33(2):74-80. doi:10.1080/07421656.2016.1166832
This quasi-experimental study investigated the impact of visual art making on the cortisol levels of 39 healthy adults.
Results indicate that art making resulted in statistically significant lowering of cortisol levels. Participants' written responses indicated that they found the art-making session to be relaxing, enjoyable, helpful for learning about new aspects of self, freeing from constraints, an evolving process of initial struggle to later resolution, and about flow/losing themselves in the work. They also reflected that the session evoked a desire to make art in the future. There were weak associations between changes in cortisol level and age, time of day, and participant responses related to learning about one's self and references to an evolving process in art making. There were no significant differences in outcomes based on prior experiences with art making, media choice, or gender.