The American Journal of Public Health, released an amazing study in 2010, entitled The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature
This study scientifically concluded what many of us noticed long ago: everything from music and writing to dance and the visual arts leads to lower stress levels. The beauty of this is a cornerstone of Creative Awakenings
: you don’t need to actually produce
something finite and fabulous – it is the process of making
something that does the trick. To take it one beautiful step further, simply observing
creativity (visiting a museum, watching a concert) also serves up significant stress reduction.
The reasons are simple - the most obvious is the meditative aspect; the part that indulges you in “losing track of time,” something we forget to do in daily life. For me it might be making art; for you it could be gardening, knitting, baking, hiking – or, doing something fun and silly, like blowing bubbles with your kids.
To understand what “losing track of time” means for you, here’s a simple, two-step, suggestion: Step One: Indulge yourself in a quiet moment. Close your eyes, breathing deeply and slowly. Now, bring to mind something from your past or present where you fully “lost track of time,” in a way that felt wonderful. Was it something from your childhood? Your present life? Did you participate or observe? Most importantly: can you recall in detail how it felt to be in that place?
Once you land on it; stay with the memory. Let it fully bubble up to your conscious mind, noticing all aspects of it, so you can bring forward all elements. Were you inside or out? Were you alone or with others? Was it warm or cold weather; day or night? What were you wearing? Were there any specific smells or sounds? The more detailed you are, the greater the benefit. The stored sensations of joy from this experience will once again rise to your conscious mind, leaving you feeling wonderful, and completing Step One.
Step Two: Take some action based on this memory, applying some version of it in your life today. If it’s knitting, cooking, singing in the shower, heading to a museum or practicing your favorite dance moves, it’s time to find your creative groove – repeat daily, and watch the stress disappear.