- Mood + Emotions: Open ended art-making in an art therapy studio has been shown to lead to significantly lower negative emotion, improved positive emotion, and improved feelings of personal ability. (Kaimal and Bay, 2017).
- Physically: In medical settings, visual arts interventions have been shown to lead to improved clinical outcomes, including better vital signs, diminished cortisol related to stress, and less medication needed to induce sleep and reduce pain (Stuckey and Nobel, 2010).
- Quality of Life: An arts-in-medicine program found that participants experienced statistically significant improvement in quality of life measures, including weight gain, social functioning, ability to complete regular physical tasks, and a trend towards reduced depression compared with control groups (Hollen and Fitzgerald, 2006).
- Thinking Skills: Nobel Prize winning scientists were found to be 7 times more likely than “ordinary scientists” to have creative leisure time hobbies that involved drawing, painting, printmaking, and/or sculpting, indicating that engagement in visual arts supports creative problem solving and integrative thinking more broadly (Root-Bernstein et al, 2008).
So if we know intuitively that we feel better when we're creative (and the research backs us up) why is it so hard to get into the flow of it? We'll be diving deeper into the barriers we face and how to move past them in future posts.