Health and Wellness

Disney has free animation classes online—and drawing can help you relax and focus during the pandemic

@criene | Twenty20

From baking to puzzles, the Covid-19 quarantine might have you turning to hobbies that you never had time for before.

If you're looking for a calming weekend art project, Disney has free drawing classes on YouTube.

You can learn how to draw some of the most popular Disney characters, from Elsa from "Frozen" to Goofy. Disney animators lead the classes, which range from 10 minutes to close to 30 minutes, and you don't need to have any drawing skills to try them.

Take a look:

Drawing can be more than just a way to pass the time. Studies show that drawing can have a significant effect on your mental health, especially during times of emotional stress.

A 2016 study found that drawing serves as a distraction from sadness. People were asked to think about the saddest event that's they've ever experienced, and then draw something completely unrelated for 15 minutes over the course of four days. Another group in the study drew a representation of their feelings for the allotted time.

Interestingly, the people who drew random objects (in this case, it was their shoes) had better moods than those who tried to express their feelings through art.

"The act of drawing pulls our attention toward the surface properties of color, line, texture and so forth," the study authors wrote. When we're drawing, we tend to focus more on these aesthetic properties than the actual subject that you're sketching. Drawing regularly could be a healthy habit that helps you cope with challenging emotions, the researchers found.

Other studies suggests that this type of drawing for distraction can help you experience "flow," which is the state of optimal experience that comes when we're intensely involved in an activity.

Not into drawing Disney characters? Doodling or coloring complex geometric patterns, like a mandala symbol or other design, can provide a meditative state that reduces anxiety.

And studies have shown that making any kind of art, from collages to clay sculptures, can decrease the stress hormone cortisol, even if you have no art skill.

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