Over the last 20 years there have been several studies about the connection between art and learning, but recent research on the connection between art, craft activities--and health--offer some exciting news.
It turns out that drawing, painting, music, and even KNITTING! can have significant health benefits. Any creative task that is mentally absorbing will allow you to become fully immersed in the moment, and this in turn creates what psychologists call “flow.”
Activties that create flow do us lots of good. Here’s a beginning list:
Forget your worries:
- Flow allows you to forget about your worries, obligations, and even physical pains. This makes drawing—and knitting—phenomenal for your mental and emotional health. Art therapists have discovered, for example, that hospital patients who do simple art activities have shorter hospital stays and require less medication.
- One researcher, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, goes so far as to call flow-inducing activity the secret to happiness.
Feel calm and happy:
- Research has shown a connection between frequent knitting and feeling calm and happy. The repetitive motions of knitting activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which quiets that "fight or flight" response.
- If you do a drawing lesson, you will likely feel the same flow—and the same calm—that the knitters in the research study experienced.
Build brain power and health:
- Researchers studying the elderly have found that engaging in activities like art, music, etc. stimulates your neurological system, counters the effects of stress-related diseases, reduces the risk of dementia, and enhances health and well-being.
- The argument is that the more stimulating your environment is ... the more you're increasing the complexity of the brain.
As you can see, art activities are NOT just for kids. The same studies claim that regular playtime for adults, such as doing hobbies that you enjoy (or drawing and painting!), is actually quite beneficial and even necessary for optimal well-being.
Find an activity that is mentally stimulating and purposeful for you. It should be an activity that requires your undivided attention and gives you great satisfaction.
Of course, here at ArtAchieve, we recommed drawing and painting as one of these activities!
Get started with free art lessons for kids today!
- “The Neurological Basis of Ooccupation” by Gutman and Schindler: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17623380
- “This is your brain on knitting” by Jacque Wilson: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/25/health/brain-crafting-benefits/
- “The benefits of knitting for personal and social wellbeing in adulthood: findings from an international survey” by Riley, Jill; Corkhill, Betsan; Morris, Clare: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cot/bjot/2013/00000076/00000002/art00002
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness: http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow#t-163695