• tami@southerngritandgrain

Do It For Your Health! Oh, And For Fun.

Do It For Your Health! OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but there have been studies. No really! These studies are showing that being creative helps to reduce stress, live longer and face obstacles. Added benefits of creativity, and DIY, are the social aspects of making new friends, helpful to the budget and a way of combating the fear of making mistakes. According to a study by Girija Kaimal, EdD, an assistant professor at Drexel University, making art can significantly reduce stress-related hormones in your body. Kaimal says, “This study investigated the impact of visual art making on the cortisol levels of 39 healthy adults (ages 18 to 59 years). Results indicate that, in 75% of the participants, art making resulted in statistically significant lowering of cortisol levels” regardless of medium, gender, race or even past experience. In other words, even if your creative attempt looks like the scribbles of a two year old, it helps. Another study published in the Journal of Aging and Health found that only creativity, not intelligence decreased mortality risk. “Individuals high in creativity maintain the integrity of their neural networks even into old age”, says study author Nicholas Turiano. “Keeping the brain healthy may be one of the most important aspects of aging successfully, a fact shown by creative persons living longer in our study.” He also cites creative people's ability to handle stress and they tend not to get as easily flustered when faced with an emotional or physical hurdle. The popularity of the “painting while sipping wine” franchise is widespread. Many a craft fair are popping up throughout the country and let's not even get started about Pinterest! Whether it is a physical place to craft and be creative or using social media, contacts are made and friendships are formed through this genre. It has become a close knit group and most people are happy to share their creative ideas and knowledge as well as help in a time of needing advice. And who doesn't love taking time out, getting together with their girlfriends, laughing, catching up and taking home a cute sign to hang on the wall? Have you been drooling over that piece of decor that crossed your Facebook feed from that certain department store? You know, the one that even with a 20% off coupon, it is way out of budget? How many times has that very thing sparked a budding creative artist or DIYer? With all the craft stores, coupons and YouTube videos out there, it is not hard to find out how to re-create that desired piece at a fraction of the price. Putting being a craft supply hoarder aside (and yes, they do exist) creating can be easier on the pocketbook. There is something about staring at a blank canvas or raw wood that can be intimidating. All the uneasiness of “I'm not crafty”, “I'm not an artist”, or “I don't want to mess it up” comes creeping in. Be brave. Take a chance. How many times has a designer on an HGTV series told us that paint is the cheapest design element in décor? Just pick up a brush, dip in the paint and get started. If you don't like it you can always paint over it. Just like in life, once you have sorted through your options (medium, colors), gathered the tools you need, made note of your perimeters and boundaries(edge of the board/canvas, elbow room) made a plan (size of wall, gift giving), just start, make a decision. Making a decision is like anything else, it is a learned practice. You will get better and more confident with time. Mistakes can be creativity and strategically covered but built upon or your project evolves into something you hadn't planned on but find you like immensely! So, what did we learn? Being creative helps reduce stress, helps you live longer, make and keep friends, make decisions all while being budget friendly. Let's go make something! :)