Art Therapy: Creative Ways of Releasing Stress

STRESS! STRESS! STRESS! Reading the word itself gives you it. Whether it be from your finances, career, self - imposed expectations, family, life, or maybe all the above, anxiety disorders are the most common illness in the United States. This illness affects 40 million adults >18 years old or nearly 18.1% of the population from small day to day activities or even larger illnesses. 

The increased use of the term "Art Therapy" has been trending over the past few years because people have begun to use art to reduce stress and get in touch with their feelings. I think most of us knew this instinctively as kids: virtually all of us know the joys of sculpting something with clay, painting with your hands/fingers, or drawing doodles with stencils.

However, as we grew up, many of us loss that instinct to randomly doodle to kill time as phones, computers, and tablets became omnipresent. So, nowadays, if you’re like most adults, you don’t express yourself with art like you did as a stress free kid. Furthermore, you may not think you're any "good" at creating art, or you may not think it's worth your time, but art is actually a valuable pastime, even for those who don't consider themselves artistically inclined. There are many reasons that art is a great stress relief tool, even for those who don't consider themselves to be artists.

There are many benefits of using clinical art to treat therapy and in this blog I will cover 2 of them. 


DISTRACTION: Drawing and painting art can take your mind off of what’s stressing you, temporarily at least. It's difficult to keep ruminating on your problems when you're focused on creating, and if your problems stay with you, you can incorporate them into your creations. And when you’re finished being engrossed in your sketches, you should have a clearer head with which to tackle your problems again. There have been many times where I have left a task alone to go do something creative and have came back energized and full of ideas! It had been as if my parts of my mind had become unlocked that were once stale and locked.

FLOW: There’s a certain quality of being called “flow” that experts say is very beneficial for us. This term is defined as a state of being completely engaged in something to the point of being in a near-meditative state. Flow carries many of the benefits of meditation, leaving you much less stressed when you’re done. You can experience ‘flow’ when you’re doing creative activities like writing and even gardening, painting, and drawing. It's an amazement that once you feel so engrossed with a simple task, it feels as your task is effortless!


These are just 2 of the number benefits of painting as stress relief. I encourage you to try something different from time to time rather than sticking with television or digital entertainment. Challenge different parts of your brain that you don't normally use and it will amaze you how wonderful you and your self - accomplishment will feel!