Art and Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month! I would like to give a few tips on how art can help relieve stress. First, it can be used to move through difficult emotions. It can also serve as a distraction from the "real" problems you have in your life, even if just momentarily. There is a neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine that is involved in reward and feel happy. Creating art increases dopamine, which in turn can help with anxiety and excess stress. There are many ways to make art from sculpting, drawing to painting. Find which works for you. I clearly use photography most of the time, but that doesn't mean that photography is for you.

There is also a hormone called cortisol which is higher in those who experience stress. When we do stress-relieving activities, such as creating or view art, it decreases. You don't have to be a professional artist to reap benefits. Even simple sketching, doodling or the act of creating will be beneficial.

If you need guidance, consider consulting with an experienced art therapist. Often, they can help prompt you on some ideas that work and provide guidance. There is a reason they are commonly employed at hospitals, rehabilitation centers or even in prisons. Try to find one near you that is certified by the American Art Therapy Association or Art Therapy Credential's Board.

Give art a try and experience some of its therapeutic benefits. There is even evidence that art can help prevent cognitive or brain decline as we age. Keep that stress down! - Brian