Are there positive correlations between the creation of art and good things happening in your brain, like the release of dopamine or the stimulation of certain parts of your brain that’s healthy for you and your body?
Human brains are interesting things. Our brain chemistry, and how we stimulate our brain, influence what we think and do to an incredible degree.
Positive behavior and habits can have a good, lasting impact on your brain, too. We’ve seen this in all kinds of studies where behavior is examined to see how it affects a person’s brain and body, like smoking.
With all of that known, it’s an interesting question… is drawing good for your brain?
The answer requires a little bit of digging.
Memory & Stress-Reduction
It’s been shown by multiple different studies that any kind of art can help you relax and engage different parts of your brain.
One of the most notable examples of this is how drawing can actually directly boost memory. Scientists found, after quite a while of studying, that something as simple as doodling a word or a concept can help lock that image and concept in your brain in a much more solid, long-lasting way than normal memorization techniques like just trying to read it over and over.
It’s estimated that engaging in art while consuming or being told information can increase recall by up to 29%.
That is quite a large gap for doing something as little as coloring or doodling? It engages different parts of the brain, activating reward centers, and even improving your mood.
It’s been shown that creating art can not only reduce anxiety and help you relax but also combat and mitigate depression. This has obvious health benefits that go beyond just the fun of creating art at that moment.
Mental health is important, and sometimes it can be hard to deal with certain aspects of your life, so it’s clear how valuable this aspect of drawing can be.
Focus Better and Reduce Pain
There is also a notably strong correlation between drawing and focus. Researchers found that during the creation of art, it was common that the person relaxed and began to focus harder on the task at hand.
It got rid of distractions and let them be more reflective. It also gave them a sense of pleasure as they drew or painted or did whatever else, and all of these things are very good.
It’s even been found that drawing can actually reduce the physical pain that you’re feeling at that moment. It’s not an actual pain medication, because that would be ridiculous, but instead, it relaxes you and stops your physical condition from affecting your mood and getting you down.
It moves your mental focus from whatever your pain is to whatever it is that you’re drawing, and that’s very valuable indeed.
Hand-eye Coordination Improvements
Drawing has also been linked and correlated with the improvement of your hand-eye coordination.
Think about it, it makes sense: you’re having to pay attention with your eyes while making fine, small movements with your hand, sometimes hundreds of times in just a few minutes.
If you make a mistake, it will ruin or reduce the quality of the image that you’re trying to create, to your standards, at least. This also loops back to focus and attention, and how drawing activates and stimulates those parts of the brain and engages them in ways that are far better than they are usually stimulated.
The right side of your brain will take over while you’re drawing if you engage it for long enough.
General Cognition Improvement & Resilience
There is also been noticeable improvements that have been studied by scientists and researchers when it comes to general cognition.
It’s been shown that, specifically, what art does to the brain and the way it changes brain matter and reward pathways is very helpful. It can supposedly even delay or outright negate, at least somewhat, age-related brain deficiencies.
That can be useful if you’re someone older, or even if you just want to try to keep yourself healthy even as you age. If working out is good for your body, and engages your heart and your muscles, and burns calories, then drawing is engaging your mind, and it needs just as much exercise and work as every other part of your body does.
Furthermore, drawing also seems to be beneficial for your mood. While it’s already been established that the brain helps reduce the effects of depression and anxiety on your brain, there’s something else that it does too that’s arguably even more valuable: it prepares your brain for trauma and makes you more resilient to it.
It’s been found that the reduction to stress and improvements to mood are so noticeable that if you draw or create art enough as a child, it will make it easier to deal with stressful situations in the future as an adult.
TEDx Talk on How Drawing Supports Visual Thinking
In this great TEDx talk, the presenter shows 5 different ways how drawing supports visual thinking and how you can implement it in your life.
The video is a bit long but worth the watch!
If that video inspired you to start drawing, then this should interest you
Thoughts & Conclusions
It is clear that drawing has many different positive effects on your brain, from general cognitive improvement to increasing your hand-eye coordination, not to mention a variety of mood-boosting pluses.
While it is not a crazy panacea, for an activity that is fun and some people do for a career, drawing and creating art can have a great, positive, and long-lasting effect on your brain.