Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Arts and Minds

Pilot study finds art-based mindfulness activities reduced headaches in teenage girls

30 August 2019

Arts and Minds

Mindfulness grows popular with awareness of its potential effects on wellbeing and mental health – yet finding an approach that 'clicks' is vital to long-term commitment. Researchers worked together with a small group of American high-school students to develop a mindfulness programme based on art therapy. Mixing creative activities with forms of meditation, the students reported fewer stress-related headaches after regular sessions. These colourful shapes – drawn before (left) and after (right) meditation – perhaps show an emotional ‘release’ beyond the circular boundary as a result. One student said her stress felt like was “spreading out and going away”. Keeping an open mind to creative approaches may help as more and more workplaces make time for mindfulness as part of working life and culture.

Written by John Ankers

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