Students use art to relax after finals

University+students+create+art+to+relieve+themselves+of+their+stress+after+finals.

Madison Holcomb

University students create art to relieve themselves of their stress after finals.

By Madison Holcomb, Staff Writer

Some college students have experienced burnout as a result of the semester, which can negatively affect their mental health. 

This burnout can cause an increased level of anxiety and depression and a lack of motivation, which not only impacts students’ grades but also their mental well-being.

Different forms of art, such as theater, dance and music offer a way to escape burnout and decrease the stress placed on students’ mental health.

Manny Pulido, a graduate student who teaches classes on Communication and Health and Interpersonal Communication at the University, explained the mental health benefits of art. 

“Anxiety feels like, in our brains, thoughts racing on a negative loop that’s just really hard to break out of,” Pulido  said. “I know of research that shows that the only way to break out of a negative cognition loop, like anxiety or anger, is to replace it with a positive feeling. (Art) replaces those negative cognitions and gives us an opportunity to break the cycle.” 

Pulido, who once studied vocal performance, uses music and singing to relieve his stress and improve his mental health.

“Whenever I’m having a bad day, I try to remind myself to blast music or sing my favorite song or sing a song that matches my mood and just helps me sort through those thoughts and sit with them,” Pulido said. 

A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that certain art forms contribute to relieving stress and anxiety within the brain. 

One art form that the study focused on was music. Music and music therapy were observed in clinical studies to examine their effects on health and wellness. 

According to the study, “It has been shown that music can calm neural activity in the brain, which may lead to reductions in anxiety, and it may help to restore effective functioning in the immune system partly via the actions of the amygdala and hypothalamus.” 

The study assessed the effects of four areas of creative artistic expression, and all four showed significant benefits to the cognitive and mental health of participants. 

Students on the University campus are using art to relax themselves and take a break from the busy end-of-the-semester season.

Keely Kuester, freshman in LAS, enjoys dancing, listening to music or writing to relieve her stress and enhance her creative side.

“Art in most forms is a really therapeutic experience for me,” Kuester said. “It’s a way to express the more abstract parts of life that we can’t always perfectly describe in words.”

“Especially in such a stressful period of our lives, I believe every student can benefit from finding an art form they love and taking a few minutes out of their day to express themselves that way,” Kuester said. 

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