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There’s a quote by Picasso that I love: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

I believe it. I feel it every time I pull out paints or clay or even markers and crayons.

Picasso’s poetic pronouncement seems abstract, but it turns out there’s science to support it: A new study shows doing art, no matter your skill level, has a wonderful physical effect. It reduces the level of stress hormones in most people’s bodies.

It’s good to know that the skill level doesn’t matter, because my attempts at art are nowhere near Picasso’s.

It’s cool to see that adult coloring books have become popular lately, and lots of art studios and even restaurants and bars are marketing paint parties for couples or groups. Our local art museum opens up a studio on Saturdays and on the first Thursday evening of every month for people to come in and create art inspired by one of its exhibits. Community centers offer art classes, too.

But you don’t need an organized event to access the healing power of creativity. Grab whatever materials you have and see where they take you. Wash that dust off your soul. 

Click here to read more about the newly published study.

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.

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