Self-care is a huge topic of conversation these days. Keeping a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising.
All of those things can do wonders for our immune system and our mental wellbeing.
But, some experts think there is something missing from that list; creating art.
Dr. Susan Magsamen, executive director of the International Arts and Mind Lab at the Brain Science Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is one of those experts.
“I think of art as being as important as exercise, sleep or nutrition,” she says. “It’s a regulator, a way to regulate your body’s systems in a stressful time.”
Research backs up Dr. Magsamen’s thoughts. Studies show that after 45 minutes of making art, cortisol (“the stress hormone”) levels in the bloodstream drop dramatically.
According to a 2010 study, “there are clear indications that artistic engagement has significantly positive effects on health.”
Art reduces stress by reducing activity in the brain’s amygdala; the part responsible for emotions like fear, anxiety, and sadness.
“Dance, writing, music — particularly lower-tonality music — really help settle down the amygdala. Those are important neurobiological shifts,” says Magsamen.
Dr. Magsamen’s organization has created a fantastic resource for anyone looking to get those creative juices flowing.
It offers weekly easy-to-do art activities and simple explanations about the science behind them.
Check it out here. Your brain will thank you.