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What’s your favorite way to wind down after a challenging day at work? Do you head to the gym? See a movie? Attend a sporting event? While those activities may be temporary diversions, they can’t soothe your soul the way art can.

Since time began, man has craved artistic expression as an antidote for stress. Art has a way of making us feel happy, relaxed and inspired, which makes it a powerful tool for self-care and mental health. Studies suggest that art therapy can be invaluable in treating depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and even some phobias. Art is a great way to express emotions without using words, process complex feelings and find relief. 

Pablo Picasso said it best: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Releasing the “Happy Hormone”

Certain activities, such as gardening and art, allow us to slow down and take a break from our otherwise hectic lives. Creating art stimulates the release of dopamine, a type of neurotransmitter known as the “happy hormone” because it tends to spike when we experience something pleasurable. Art also provides:

  •  Stress Relief:  Body aches and sleepless nights might be trying to tell you it’s time to take a break. Stress can have a profound effect on our physical and mental health. Study after study has shown that drawing, doodling, coloring and simply creating something for 20 plus minutes reduces cortisol, the primary stress hormone that can wreak havoc on our well being. (In other words, cortisol is the “evil twin” of dopamine.)
  • Increased Self-Esteem: Remember the pride you felt when you presented your mother with that handmade ceramic ashtray in second grade? You can rediscover that same feeling as an adult. Creativity makes us feel good about ourselves and validates our ability to turn our ideas into something physical. Taking time to indulge in crafts and hobbies can provide a sense of self-worth and confidence.
  • Healing: It takes time and patience to recover from trauma, but art can help process pain and establish a direct connection between the mind and body to accelerate the healing process. In fact, Maya Ratcliff, the founder of Hawaii Fluid Art, began her career helping people with brain injuries delve into their artistic talents as therapy. This led her to develop a proprietary method of fluid art using acrylic paint and a special pouring medium. The demand for her classes grew and her reach rapidly spread from her first studio in Waikoloa, Hawaii to locations across the U.S.

No Previous Experience Required

The best part of art therapy is that it focuses on the process of creating art, rather than the final product, so it is more about finding meaning and connection in your life than about becoming a great artist. You just need to be willing to experiment–and fluid art is the ideal way to do that. Anyone from age two to 102 can enjoy this fun and hassle-free way to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces.

 At Hawaii Fluid Art, you can take a class by yourself or with your family, friends or co-workers. Whatever you choose, you are sure to experience what we call “magic moments” as you watch your creation come to life before your eyes. Check out this recent news segment to see what we mean.

Hawaii Fluid Art’s mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one painting at a time.