The day to day life of a firefighter is quite stressful, but add in working on your firefighter promotional exam prep and it may begin to feel too overwhelming. One of the best ways to reduce your stress levels and keep focused is through art.
Reduces Anxiety & Stress
No matter your experience level when it comes to art, putting pen or paint to paper has been proven to reduce cortisol levels in the body. Reduced cortisol levels mean reduced anxiety and stress levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone in the body, think of it as an alarm system, and the more floating around in your body the more anxious and stressed out you will be. In addition to the reduction in cortisol, art has the potential to increase a person’s dopamine levels. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the body responsible for pleasure and motivation levels. This means that drawing, painting or any other form of art has the potential to quickly take your mood and completely change it in a positive manner. This mood switch can be critical if you are having a stressful day and are just trying to get some studying in for the firefighter promotional exam.
Clears Your Mind
When you sit down to start studying for your firefighter promotional exam it can be difficult to begin if you have a lot on your mind. Just sitting down and creating takes your mind off other things that may be causing you stress. Art allows you to focus on the task at hand, the art, and not think about or worry about the other stressors in your life. Even if you spend a short amount of time scribbling with some markers, you are allowing your mind to take a break from the things causing you anxiety. Think of art as a form of journaling. Journaling has been proven to help clear one's mind. Draw what you are feeling or thinking and create a visual journal. The act of taking what is on your mind and putting it on paper is a great way to get distracting thoughts out of your brain. This allows you the opportunity to either forget about these thoughts or come back to them later when you have the time. This is an alternate form of journaling if you are not a fan of writing.
I guarantee you have heard of art therapy. If you get comfortable enough with art, you may even be able to take it a step further and use it as a form of therapy to deal with traumatic events of your past. Art therapy can help you get in touch with your emotions and process past life events. This is extremely beneficial for people who have a hard time talking about their feelings. You can take it a step further and join some art therapy groups with other firefighters that have experienced similar traumas in their lives.
As silly as making art sounds it can have a serious positive impact on your overall mental health. You do not have to have any artistic experience or be an artist to get the benefits described above. Go grab some crayons or a paint set and give it a go. You may be surprised by the positive benefits you get and how much more focused you are when it comes time to take the firefighter promotional exam.