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The Anti-Stress Alphabet: D for Drawing

Discovering new ways to reduce stress is always a worthwhile endeavor. One such method that has proven incredibly beneficial is artistic expression through drawing. In this article, we will discuss the power of this strategy and its benefits to minimize stress in our lives.

Scientific research has investigated the relationship between stress reduction and creative activities like drawing. In a study conducted by Karagiorgakis and Schneider (2016), researchers found that drawing not only led to psychological stress reduction but also physiological changes, specifically in blood glucose levels, which correlate to cortisol.

In another study, Kaimal et al. (2017) investigated the activation of brain regions associated with rewards during distinct drawing tasks – coloring, doodling, and free drawing. Results demonstrated significant medial prefrontal cortex activation during all three visual arts tasks compared to rest conditions. Participants reported improved self-perceptions of problem-solving skills and creative ideation.

Besides its stress-relieving potential, drawing includes other benefits, such as fostering emotional release and engaging people in mindfulness. Additionally, research proved how artistic achievements increase self-esteem, countering negativity. Lastly, the act of creating by drawing empowers individuals by giving them a sense of control over their creations, which can be generalized to other areas of life.

Adding drawing to your stress-relief routine can be a great way to express yourself creatively and feel calmer. Make sure to set some time aside and find a comfortable place to draw regularly in order to get the most benefits. You can try different drawing techniques, from simple doodles to more complicated patterns like mandalas, depending on your interests and skill level. Drawing can help you release emotions, be more mindful, and feel accomplished, which can help reduce stress and improve your well-being.


- Kaimal, G., Ayaz, H., Herres, J., Dieterich-Hartwell, R., Makwana, B., Kaiser, D. H., & Nasser, J. A. (2017). Functional near-infrared spectroscopy assessment of reward perception based on visual self-expression: Coloring, doodling, and free drawing. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 55, 85-92.

- Karagiorgakis, A., & Schneider, K. (2016). Measuring blood-glucose levels to distinguish between psychological and physiological reductions in stress after drawing for 15 minutes. Journal of Traumatic Stress Disorders & Treatment, 05(04).

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