Everyone works under pressure these days. Timelines, guidelines, or sidelined. Gotta do this, gotta do that. Your meanest, your maddest, your baddest. Too much, too soon, too fast. C’mon connect, conduct and conclude. Maybe this is fine in small doses and makes us the productive little bees that we are. But might it also be poison when in excess? How do you spell relief?
The Meaning of Stress
Remember the original purpose of stress. To primitive man, stress was the response to being physically threatened. With the adrenal glands pumping furiously, cavemen entered “fight or flight” mode to avoid imminent danger. Hitting the bricks is all we knew how to do back then.
But today we’re different: Modern stressors are more emotional than physical. The problem is that our still primitive bodies cannot discern the difference. We’re built to run away from stress and worry, but that doesn’t work as well nowadays. So, we’re stuck with amped up adrenal glands trying to save our lives and minds that try to keep us cool. It’s like flooring the gas and hitting the brakes at the same time.
Use Your Brain
So how can our right brains help us out? It’s the part of us that’s cool, passionate, creative, dreamy, experiential, atmospheric, and it can really do a body good. In the words of Albert Einstein: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Here’s the data:
- 45 minutes of creative activity significantly lessens stress in the body, regardless of artistic experience or talent.
- In a study of first-year college students just before final examinations, art-making sessions were found to have a significant anxiety-reducing effect.
- In a meta-review of 37 studies, most of which were randomized controlled trials, stress was significantly reduced in 80-90% of subjects using creative arts as therapy. Most commonly, anxiety was lower and mood improved.
So do yourself a favor, take a break, get out and get unplugged. Let your right brain take charge and join me at The ART of Infertility exhibit at Venice Arts in Los Angeles this June during Men’s Health Month. It’s about art and it’s also about men. And being the works of art they are, there are things about men that are worth celebrating.