How art and mindfulness can relieve stress and headaches


Image via Your Teen Magazine

Mary Kathryn McNicoll, Staff Writer

Students have been reporting higher levels of stress than adults. Some schools are taking action by implementing mindfulness into the school day. The University of Washington did their own study by using art to decrease the amount of stress and headaches caused by stress.  

They tested a group of 8 teenage girls and got feedback on the mindfulness activities they practiced. After six meetings, the girls reported having significantly fewer headaches than before. Before the experiments the girls said that they had 7.38 headaches in the last two weeks on average. After the experiment that average went down to 4.63, a 40% decrease.

A similar study was done by a group of teen girls in a High School in Seattle. They met for 50 minutes twice a week, for different mindfulness activities.  At the beginning of each session the group would show where they were feeling stressed on a picture of a body, and then after de-stressing would follow this practice again. At the end of the experiment they looked at each of their body maps side by side. When they did this it was obvious that in the beginning their stress was all over the place but in the end their feelings flowed through their whole body evenly.

During this study they also incorporated art in the sessions. In each meeting they used types of arts, the girls particularly liked using oil-pastels. They also used art-therapy, one example is a project where they worked together to create mandalas. After this study the girls had less headaches but had about the same level of stress but they said that the sessions helped them feel prepared for the day. 

Hopefully this will help you to find a way to be less stressed for the school year and beyond.