Brush away the stress

I was watching the rain outside whilst trying to decide whether to paint my dresser the same colour again or a different colour, the same day I read tweets from two Twitter friends both stroke survivors doing similar tasks, they were both painting chairs. The one had commented on their progress that day as we stroke survivors do only too often these days. We remark on what we have not yet finished, have not perhaps achieved as quickly, in my case I frustratingly have to have a sleep in the day which halts progress of any task attempted. Yet if we sit back and analysis for a moment how far we have come, several years ago we could not move a single finger on one hand, could not string a sentence together, could not stay awake for any longer than it took to eat a meal, yet we perhaps question our ability rather than look at what we have achieved. However, this is perhaps the personality that has brought us this far and will continue to aid recovery. 

Hobbies whatever they maybe at any level are beneficial. If you look at painting for example, it is known to reduce stress, you do not have to be an established artist for it to have this benefit on your wellbeing and as there are very few things our disabilities allow us to do without asking for help why not get some paints and paper a couple of brushes and give it a try? There is nothing to be lost is there? In my book I explain how my discovery of painting evolved and I am so grateful it did.  

Published in the journal Art Therapy, a study discovered that forty five minutes of art therapy be it drawing, painting, working with clay it did not matter which, it reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone as it’s known as. This is produced in the adrenal glands which are situated above the kidneys, these cortisol levels increase in response to stress. The study carried out enrolled 39 adults between the ages of 18 and 59 for a 45 minutes art making session. All participants were supplied with materials to either draw, paint or model clay, they were able to use whatever they liked to create anything they wished. At the end of the session cortisol levels were measured and 75% of the participants indicated a reduction in stress.  

So returning for a moment to our changed life, it is frustrating and stressful with things we are no longer able to do, loss of independence, loss of income so many changes all of these things can cause stress that we may not even be aware of as we are going about our daily challenges of recovery and coping. So I personally feel art is both beneficial and enjoyable in whatever form you select. Painting furniture, pictures, mosaic work it is something we can achieve and have a finished result plus satisfaction of achieving. What do you think, are you ready to get some paints out?


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