Welcome to February…Heart month. Valentines, red roses, sentimental cards. But face it, in real everyday life, we still deal with deadlines, traffic, incessant noise and expectations that we’re “not enough”. Stress. And stress literally hurts your heart. Harvard Women’s Health Watch (2013) said that there’s a “real connection between stress and heart disease” which can trigger inflammation, a known cause of heart disease.

There are several ways to lower stress: exercise, a positive attitude, and engagement in creative activities. The American Journal of Public Health (2010, Feb. p. 254-263) found overwhelming evidence that visual arts greatly reduced stress and improved mood in patients with chronic diseases. For a long time, art as therapy has been used to enable a person’s thoughts and feelings to be expressed in a safe way when words aren’t enough. Art uses the right brain where emotions live; it provides a distraction from usual thoughts helping a person to concentrate on details and making it possible to feel a sense of mediation. Doing art can help decrease anxiety, stress and depression while increasing self-awareness and self-esteem. Thomas Merton said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

So enjoy a healthy February Heart Month with a little art. Contact Blank Canvas to schedule a painting party with your friends so you can experience the freedom and fun creativity can provide. Happy February!