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How Creativity Can Squash Work Stress and Burnout

workplace stress

Over the last several years, Americans’ stress levels have been on the rise. Work stress, in particular, is one of our biggest problems. Many of us believe that if we aren’t stressed, we simply aren’t working hard enough. But the truth is that our stress is a real detriment to our physical and emotional well-being that keeps us from leading balanced lives or being as positive and productive as we could be.

While some business owners make workplace stress reduction a priority, there’s likely a lot more you could be doing to improve the lives of your employees in the office. One of the many ways to provide stress relief at work might come as a surprise to you. By providing a creative outlet for your employees and surrounding them with specially chosen works of art, you can help to provide a more relaxing atmosphere while simultaneously stimulating the brains of those in your employ — both of which make for a happier, healthier, and more innovative workforce.

According to numerous studies, something as simple as providing art supplies and giving people free rein to create whatever they’d like can do wonders for stress relief. One study found that this reduced 75% of participants’ levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) during a 45-minute period. Being able to lose oneself in a creative task allows the brain to work more effectively and essentially allows the effects of anxiety and stress to melt away.

If you encourage your employees to take a break to create something — whether it be a free-hand drawing, knitting, journaling, or taking photographs, or coloring in a stress relief coloring book — you’ll likely find that their work flow will be more efficient and they’ll generally feel more enthused about the work they do. You can even promote team events outside of work that focus on creative endeavors (like painting classes) or let employees have a hand in decorating the office with unique pieces of art.

And speaking of decorating the office: don’t forget that being surrounded by artwork can also help employees feel more relaxed and more creative in general. In another study that analyzed how participants felt after exploring an art gallery, similar physical and emotional effects pertaining to stress hormones were observed. After spending only 35 minutes in an art gallery space, participants said they were less stressed and were found to have lower concentrations of cortisol.

Not every piece of art will decrease workplace stress, but many nature scenes, photographs, and other types of art can allow your employees to feel more positive and relaxed in the office. You may never be able to create a completely stress free workplace, but adding art can certainly help. Plus, there are countless other benefits of art in the workplace, like increased innovation and company loyalty.

Workplace stress may seem like an impossible problem to combat, but small changes like adding art and encouraging creative endeavors can have a bigger impact than you might think. For more information on how our art consultants can help you improve your company culture and employee stress levels, contact us today.