Although art therapy is its own field, you can use art to express your creative side, manage and relieve stress, and get in touch with your own feelings.
Some people believe young children were aware of this instinctively.
When you think about it, it makes sense.
Just remember the joy of sculpting something with clay or play dough, painting with your fingers or drawing with pencils, crayons, watercolors and similar materials.
Most adults don’t express themselves with art as they did as kids. Many think they shouldn’t make art if they aren’t talented or think it’s a waste of time.
However, creating art is a very valuable pastime that is also very beneficial for your mental health.
Learn how art can help you reduce stress and anxiety, even if you are not artistically inclined.
Benefits of Art Therapy
Drawing and creating art can help you relieve stress in many ways. It provides distraction and takes your mind off whatever’s stressing you even for just a couple of minutes. However, instead of trying to use art as a distraction, you should use it as an outlet for your emotions.
Sometimes, it is very hard to express yourself with words. Instead of using words try depicting your feelings or incorporating them into your creations.
This process will not only provide you necessary emotional relief, but it will also help you know and understand yourself better than before.
After you finish creating your piece, you should have a clearer head that will help you tackle your problems more effectively.
The state of being completely engaged in something (experts call it the flow) is also very beneficial for stress relief because it almost puts in a near-meditative state.
Some professionals claim that creating art or simply doing creative activities such as writing and gardening helps you experience the flow and basically enjoy the benefits of meditation.
Sometimes, like many adults, we have so many life’s responsibilities that we forget that we need and deserve some down time and self-care.
Taking half an hour or even a few minutes every day to devote to a hobby such as painting, gardening, photography and similar can make you feel more balanced in your lifestyle.
By creating art, you will also be left with constant (beautiful) reminders of your creativity which will provide you with a feeling of self-accomplishment, improve your self-esteem, and boost your mood and confidence.
DIY Art Therapy for Stress and Anxiety Relief
In order to heal yourself through art, there is no need to hire an art therapist. There are many art therapy ideas you can try at home. The easiest way to use the act of drawing for stress relief is through art journaling, sketching, and photography.
Keeping a sketchbook can also be considered a form of journaling because it involves continually visually recording of what you see and feel.
You can use a journal for personal art therapy and stress management to draw your emotions, process old stress, or simply record the beauty in your life.
Try depicting your feelings with shapes and colors, or create a unique character that represents a complex emotion such as sadness, envy, anger or jealousy.
Giving life to your feelings can be a great way to process related emotions and reduce some of the stress they carry.
Expressing feelings to related stressful experiences or your worries will help you process these emotions and heal.
Processing and healing through art will also help you reduce anxiety.
When you are feeling anxious, depicting your worries and emotional burden can help you understand yourself better.
Sometimes, doing the opposite, such as sketching things you are grateful for in your life, can help you relieve anxiety and remember all that little things are the ones that make us happy.
If you don’t feel comfortable with drawing or painting, you could start photographing things you consider beautiful.
You can also go outside and try to find a scene that perfectly matches your mood or feelings.
Photograph the faces of those you love and places that bring you peace.
If you feel like sharing your art, organize a small exhibition in your home or create a page on social media dedicated to your artistic photography.
This process is not only fun, but it can also be a great stress reliever.
Mandala and Pattern Drawing
Mandala is an ancient form of art that has been used for many centuries to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
Drawing mandala works because it requires focused attention. The repetition of patterns and rhythmic movements, as a result, helps to decrease negative thoughts and heightened emotions.
Research suggests that structured coloring of complex geometric patterns induces a meditative state that benefits the ones who suffer from anxiety.
Another study claims that coloring a mandala relaxes and reduces anxiety.
Similar to creating beautiful mandalas is pattern drawing. This is an art form also known as Zentagle drawing.
Zentagles are considered miniature pieces of abstract art. In order to create these patterns, you also need to be focused and engage in a process called artistic meditation.
Zentagles have the same effect as drawing mandalas. Focused pattern drawing should help you calm, relieve your mind from negative thoughts and worries, and decrease your anxiety and stress levels.
The easiest way to get anxiety and stress relief through creative activities is by enjoying coloring books.
This is particularly great for those who aren’t comfortable with their artistic abilities but enjoy creative activities such as doodling and coloring.
Studies show that creating or coloring mandalas is also very beneficial to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as to minimize the effects of emotional trauma.
No matter what artistic medium you choose, it is essential to feel comfortable while using it and to be completely honest with yourself.
The goal of art therapy is not to become a fantastic artist but to feel better, heal and return to enjoying life as you did before.
Art therapy is not about the final product, but about the process, because it should help you increase self-expression and self-awareness through it.