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If You’re Feeling Stressed, Science Says ART Could Be The Answer

If you constantly find yourself bogged down by stress, the good news is that you’re not alone. In fact, Singapore is known to have one of the highest stress levels in the world amongst both workers and students.

Chronic stress and prolonged tension can lead to health problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, and heart diseases, but several studies may have revealed the answer to this.

The Power of Art

According to research by the University of Westminster, experiencing and surrounding oneself in art can actually help in decreasing stress levels.

The researchers invited 28 city workers between the ages of 22 to 58 to an art gallery for a lunchtime visit. The participants self-reported their stress levels upon entering and were allowed to explore the gallery exhibition area for 35 minutes.

Not only did the participants report lower stress levels upon exiting, there was also a decrease in cortisol levels – a hormone produced in response to stress, amongst those who entered with relatively high levels to begin with.

Additionally, a similar study earlier this year found that cortisol levels amongst its participants dropped by 60 per cent on average while over 90 per cent of the volunteers self-reported lower stress levels. The study involved a larger sample size of 100 volunteers who spent two hours viewing the Sanctuary of Vicoforte.

The fresco atop the Sanctuary of Vicoforte

Make Art, Not War

In addition to viewing art, making art has also proven effective in reducing stress levels regardless of one’s creative ability.

A study published in Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association earlier this May found that producing art significantly decreased stress levels and cortisol levels when participants were given 45 minutes to make art in any way they pleased.

Making art can significantly reduce stress

By testing the participants’ cortisol levels before and after the creative exercise, the research found that 75 per cent of participants reported lower cortisol levels regardless of past art experience.

What’s more telling was a consistent correlation between younger participants and reduced cortisol levels, suggesting that art’s ability to decrease stress may greatly benefit younger people.

The study’s author Girija Kaimal offered an explanation for this, hypothesising that older people who have had years of experiencing stress may have developed strategies to cope with stress while younger adults are still figuring out their way through life.

Either way, producing art and delving into creative activity has shown to benefit those undergoing stress regardless of one’s gender or media preference.

With the many health risks associated with stress, it’s important to acknowledge it and to take steps that help relieve pressure.

If you’re feeling stressed out, remember that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. With the stress-relieving benefits of art, try checking out a nearby gallery or art workshops that might interest you over the weekend, and who knows, you might discover a hidden talent.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out A List Singapore’s Event listings page for the latest exhibitions and workshops. There’ll be something for everyone with various activities and events in the various areas of the arts including theatre, literature, films, music, visual art and dance.

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This article was brought to you by A List Singapore.

If You’re Feeling Stressed, Science Says ART Could Be The Answer

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