Stressed out? Art can help us get through the coronavirus pandemic

The world is stressed out by coronavirus. 

According to a recent survey, nearly half of Americans are anxious about contracting COVID-19, and
four in 10 Americans are worried about getting seriously ill or dying from it. Businesses
are shutting their doors, markets are falling and we may be headed toward a global recession

We shouldn’t feel too hopeless, though. There are
simple tasks — like maintaining a regular schedule, getting a good night’s
sleep and eating healthy — that help fight feelings of depression, stress and vulnerability. 

This is also a great time to develop more eco-friendly habits and reconnect with the outdoors, maybe
through a good nature book or a hike.

But, lately, a growing number of people are getting
even more creative with their coping methods: They’re making art. Photography,
music, painting and drawing are keeping people busy and distracted from the
stresses of COVID-19. 

Music, in particular, has always brought
people together
, especially in difficult times. Songs are
helping neighbors in Italy and students from Berklee stay connected during this pandemic.

And art doesn’t just unify us — it physically
benefits us, too. Studies show that spending just 45 minutes on an art project
can relieve stress, strengthen critical thinking skills and improve
and sustain memory

Katie Wood, Earth Day Network’s conservation and biodiversity manager, paints using acrylics and oil.

“The science behind [art to combat stress] is really strong. So, I have a sort of scientific faith that what I’m doing is going to help me,” said Katie Wood, the conservation and biodiversity manager at Earth Day Network. “When I’m looking for a night to escape a little bit, art has been it. I sing or play guitar, and I paint.”

Wood’s pieces focus on the Earth – often including botanical and marine landscapes.

But don’t worry if you’re not the best or most
experienced artist. These relaxing benefits are felt in artists of every level
— from amateurs to professionals. 

“I’m not an artist, but it’s something I can do to
get myself out of a rut,” Austin Downs, Earth Day Network’s global cleanup coordinator
and a rookie watercolor painter, said. “I’ve got my set up… and I play
classical music while I’m doing these master strokes. Of course, they’re awful,
but it’s nice to have that personal time.”

Austin Downs, Earth Day Network’s global cleanup coordinator, paints on the subject of the Earth, too – these are wavelengths.

Neurobiologist Semir Zeki found that just viewing
art causes joy, similar
to the sensation of falling in love
. Viewing art also relieves mental exhaustion in the
same way the outdoors does — walking in nature, losing oneself in music and
admiring art directly influence
health and life expectancy

So, even without our daily dose of nature — art can
help. 

Better yet, artwork focused on saving and
appreciating the planet can make a real difference. Earth Day Network’s Artists for
the Earth
campaign connects artists, art organizations and the public to
engage on environmental issues. 

Through paintings and songs, you can inspire and
encourage others to take action by voting green
or fighting for conservation. No matter how far apart we are, art can help us
relax and bring us closer together.

Register as
an Artist for the Earth and remember that we won’t shut down just because we’re
stuck inside. The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day will be the largest
online mobilization in history
. Show your support and stay updated on the
environmental movement.

The post Stressed out? Art can help us get through the coronavirus pandemic appeared first on Earth Day.

Source: Earth Day Network