In July 2014, the Public Library of Science Journal pLoS-one, published evidence that creating art can:

1 Reduce negative emotional response
2 Trigger a relaxation response
3 Promote psychological resiliency
4 Enhance self-awareness
5 Help to develop personal expression
6 Aid in focused attention
7 Help to achieve successful cognitive regulation of emotions

The Journal of the American art therapy association (Volume 33, 2016), reported a study undertaken to estimate the impact of visual art creation on cortisol levels — an indicator of stress — in saliva. Participants provided saliva samples to test cortisol levels after 45 minutes of art-making. Participants also provided written responses about their experience at the end of the session.

Results revealed:
• Art-making significantly lowered cortisol levels
• Participants found art-making sessions to be relaxing, enjoyable, and helpful for learning about new aspects of themselves and freeing them from constraints

The cancer journey can be full of stress and anxiety. Spending a few minutes doing something creative can result in significant improvements in mental health. Plus, it’s fun!