Stress is one of the biggest struggles people face all over the world. In fact, eight out of 10 adults feel stressed every day according to a 2017 Gallup poll. Of course, there are deeper issues that need to be addressed here, but having ways to relieve stress is critical.
At A Makers’ Studio, we are firm believers in the power that creativity has in reducing stress, and we think it can make people happier and healthier.
Believe it or not, we are all creative beings. From the clothes we choose to wear, to how we style our homes, and even how we cook meals, our everyday lives revolve around creativity. But many of us underestimate how creative we are and, in fact, two-thirds of us don’t think we’re creative enough! When we feel stressed every day, we may turn to other outlets like TV or food to help, but a good dose of creativity may actually be just what the doctor ordered.
Here are a few simple ways that creativity can actually relieve stress:
1. Creativity triggers feel-good hormones
Creativity is defined as “the use of the imagination or original ideas,” which requires an openness to exploring. According to recent studies, the exploration of original ideas can actually make us happier by boosting dopamine, a chemical in the brain. Dopamine is known as the “reward hormone,” because it makes us feel good when we do something good. Simply rearranging your home décor or painting something on a canvas can trigger that feel-good feeling, which decreases cortisol, the hormone related to stress.
2. Creativity reduces cortisol
Cortisol, often called the “stress hormone,” is responsible for stabilizing blood sugar levels, regulating metabolism, and reducing inflammation. When cortisol levels are high, it can risk your physical health, as well as your mental health. Thankfully, creativity has been found to directly reduce cortisol. In one study, researchers gave participants markers, paper, and other art supplies and let them create whatever they wanted. The results of the study found that, no matter what people created with these supplies, over 75% of them showed a decrease in cortisol. So just make something, no matter how small. Your body and mind will thank you!
3. Creativity focuses the mind
You’ve probably heard a lot about mindfulness, or the practice of being “in the moment.” Creativity is a lot like mindfulness; you need to be present in the moment to create your wonderful work of art, no matter what it is. Studies show that focusing on the activity at hand can actually decrease stress because your mind (and hands) are paying attention to what’s right in front of you. Next time you need to “shake off” a worrisome conversation at work or concern over your child’s grades, pick up your latest creative project and let it quiet the thoughts in your head.
4. Color and beauty help boost your mood
Many people assume that making things beautiful is a “luxury,” or something we don’t really need to get by. But we at A Makers’ Studio know just how much it means to craft a life (and space) you love with the right pieces, colors, and accents. Beautifying your space and decorating with pieces you love can make you feel more relaxed and boost feelings of happiness, which all help to fight stress levels. It can also help you create a refuge you can rely upon after a rough day.
Get creative in your own way
Remember: creativity isn’t always picking up a paintbrush or refinishing a new piece of furniture. It’s an expression of your imagination. Daydreaming, choosing statement pieces for your wardrobe, coloring with your kids, and even using a flavorful new recipe all count as creativity.
But if you’re looking to make a commitment to your creativity with a creation you can use in your home, sign up for our Make With Joy bi-monthly subscription. This way, you always have an outlet for those stressful weeks and you can build up creative reserves that help you overcome future obstacles in your life! You’ll even get invited to a virtual workshop with our founder, Amy Howard, each month. She will show you some of the fun things you can make with your Make With Joy supplies. Creativity isn’t the cure-all to stress, but it can definitely help you manage it!