New Study Shows Making Art Can Lower Stress Levels

 Art made by study participant. Image courtesy of Art Therapy.

Art made by study participant. Image courtesy of Art Therapy.

Girija Kaimal, Kendra Ray, and Juan Muniz recently published their findings in Art Therapy of a fascinating new study measuring cortisol levels and participants responses after making art.

Our pilot study provides preliminary evidence for the use of art making for lowering cortisol, a proxy measure of stress, among healthy adults. To the best of our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate lowering of cortisol levels after a short session of art making structured to be similar to an art therapy situation. In our sample, reduction of cortisol was not related to gender, type of media used, race/ethnicity, or prior experience with art making, although it was related slightly to age and time of day.

Recently, I turned to art as a means to relax and relieve stress. I have no idea what I'm doing, like some people in this study, but I enjoy putting ink on paper. I hope the researchers continue to follow their course of study and expand their research further.