Drawing or painting; doing arts and crafts; cross-stitch or needlepoint; dancing; singing; playing an instrument – do these activities have any impact on your health? You bet they do! Probably more than you even realize.
Maybe, like me, you have never considered yourself “artistic” because a young 3-year old can draw better pictures than you can or your singing would most definitely qualify as noise, not music. But I am happy to tell you that there are many more avenues for expressing your artistic nature than you may have considered and how good you are has little bearing on its benefits to your health. I don’t know about you but that’s good news to me!
If like me you do not play any musical instrument, cannot sing well and love to dance but definitely wouldn’t win on Dancing with the Stars, it’s encouraging to know that even just listening to music or looking at artwork has healing benefits. Music has the power to positively influence inflammatory cytokines and cortisol, reduce stress, and bypass the conscious mind, thereby providing health benefits for stress-related illnesses.
According to cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, in her excellent book, Who Switched off My Brain, “Research shows around 87% of illnesses can be attributed to our thought life and approximately 13% to diet, genetics and environment. Studies conclusively link more chronic diseases (also known as lifestyle diseases) to an epidemic of toxic emotions in our culture.”
Another study found that listening to music during childbirth reduced the level of postpartum anxiety and pain, as well as the rate of early postpartum depression.
Dr. Assad Meymandi writes: “Since ancient times, music has been recognized for its therapeutic value. Greek physicians used flutes, lyres, and zithers to heal their patients. They used vibration to aid in digestion, treat mental disturbance, and induce sleep. Aristotle, in his famous book De Anima, wrote that flute music could arouse strong emotions and purify the soul. Ancient Egyptians describe musical incantations for healing the sick.”
The healing frequencies used by David in the Bible to soothe King Saul have been rediscovered and combined with beautiful, healing music I love playing as I work in my home. They’re called Wholetones and I encourage you to check them out for yourself. My point is, this is not new information. We’ve just forgotten it and thankfully are rediscovering the power of music and frequencies for health.
If you wonder how creativity, whether it is coloring in a coloring book, cooking, baking cookies, creating new recipes, decorating a cake, writing in your journal or writing a poem, story or blog post, singing in the shower or the car (my favorite place!), arranging flowers, planting your garden or just appreciating nature or someone else’s music or artwork can benefit you, let me explain.
Stimulating the relaxation response, which happens to be the opposite of the stress response, is equated with improved health. Creativity facilitates deep relaxation. Studies showed people felt more relaxation or had reduced stress after creating or enjoying art.
If you read through the list of possibilities I shared above, you will realize that as beings created in God’s image, we all have creative ability! We tend to look at creativity from to narrow a perspective. At least I did. So don’t worry about being a master at it. Choose something that exercises your personal creativity, brings you joy and allows you to use your imagination as it calms and relaxes you and you will be tapping into the healing power of creativity.
What is your favorite creative outlet?
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