Creative expression offers escape

Tina Nguyen, Business Manager

Sketches, photos and journals aren’t merely media to express ideas, but are also tools to help people get through tough times. Creating art can improve health, stimulate the brain and even improve emotional well-being.

“Writing really helps me calm down. I do it during class when I’m stressed out [and] I’ll do it late at night. Writing makes you think. When you write something down on paper, it helps you work through your problems,” junior Grace Gregg said. “I like to write poetry, especially. I’ve been working on slam poetry and that really helps with stress. It’s really cathartic; you can get out all your anger about anything.”

Writing has many positive effects on the mind and body. According to a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, writing about emotional topics improves the immune system by increasing the count of CD4+, a glycoprotein found on the surface of immune cells like T helper cells. These CD4+ cells have a critical role in assisting the T cells coordinate the activities of the immune response.

“I’ve been writing in a journal [every day] since the end of freshman year,” senior Anh Le said. “I have three or four years worth of them now. It takes you away from the problems that you have at hand. Besides the journals, I also take photos, especially of nature because the serenity calms me.”

Creating art can significantly lower one’s stress level. A recent study by Drexel University claims that regardless of artistic talent, just 45 minutes of creative activity can lessen the cortisol level, the main hormone involved in stress.

“I usually make lots of sketches with pencils. Sketching is really relaxing because you don’t have to stick to any rules. It’s just letting your mind go free and just putting everything you want on paper,” sophomore Bharathi Mathivanan said. “I’m always doodling on any papers I get. Any time I get a worksheet, you’ll see doodles all over it. Teachers don’t really complain though.”

Art can be created anywhere, at any time, by anyone. Everyone can enjoy the benefits that art offers to the body, mind and soul.