Feeling stressed? You need to get yourself an artistic hobby. Art therapy has been used for generations to soothe troubled minds and ease the tension out of tightly coiled souls. Art allows us to access different parts of our personality, areas of our minds that are often shut off in our hectic, busy lives. Stimulating our brains through artistic practices, whether it’s creating pottery, jewellery, photography, painting – any artistic activity – has many positive effects on mood and mental well being. Prepare to break out the art and craft supplies and access your inner creative spirit.
Everybody’s an Artist
Many people unfortunately dismiss art therapy out of hand because they consider themselves to not be artistic. That is missing the point. You don’t have to be good at something in order to gain great benefit and pleasure from doing it. You may never achieve the status of Picasso, but everybody has an innate desire to create, and whilst your art may not be perfect, it’s possible to take modest artistic talent and improve it with guidance and instruction. In much the same way as people who consider themselves to be ‘tone deaf’ can be taught to sing, then people who claim to lack artistic skill can be taught to draw or paint. Opening your mind to the possibilities is the first step along the way to tuning in to your artistic nature – recognising that you can be as artistic as anybody else is key to progress.
Remember when you were a kid and used to enjoy colouring in with felt tip pens or crayons? The total concentration required to make sure the colours kept within the lines, the correct shades were selected and that the overall effect was pleasing, meant that we could spend hours as kids focussed on such simple projects. At the end, when the picture was finished, there was immense pride and sense of achievement for our labours. Many childhood art activities can still work as stress relievers once we reach adulthood – tapping in to that childish innocence again, that stillness, is made easier through an artistic medium. Try it yourself – buy yourself a colouring book and some felt tip pens and see how chilled out you feel after a session. Other simple art such as finger painting, chalk art, origami, collages and mosaics are all areas where adults can revisit the good old days of the classroom or playroom with positive results. Who knew that nostalgia could generate such powerful positive energy in terms of blasting away stress and anxiety?
The actual process of immersing oneself in the artistic activity, of focussing totally on the project and living in the moment, has the positive effect of removing us from stressful situations that are troubling us. This aids relaxation and soothes tensions in a positive manner. You need to pay attention and be observant when creating art and this in turn improves your ability to see and enhances attention to details. This opens you up more to appreciate and notice your immediate environment and to gain stimulation from areas previously overlooked.
Producing a drawing, pot or painting at the end of an art therapy session boosts feelings of self esteem and pride. We always display our childrens’ artwork on the fridge at home, why not do the same with our own creations?
How else is it Good for Me?
Art therapy is known to enhance memory and cognitive abilities, as well as reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. It can have positive influence on high blood pressure, chronic pain and even PTSD and serious health conditions such as cancer.
The really good thing about art therapy is that you don’t have to see a doctor or medical specialist to start taking your medicine – you can self medicate! All you need to do is order up whatever art and craft supplies you need to feed your drive to create. Whether it’s paints, yarns, beads, card making, stained glass, charcoal drawings, ceramics or sculpture that gets your creative juices flowing, don’t hesitate a moment longer to get stuck in – because the sooner you start, the quicker the stress will leave you.
Don’t rule out taking a class in whatever art medium you choose. Not only will this help speed up progress and assist with any frustrations you may have with technique, you will also be meeting like-minded people. Socialising with friends on the same wavelength is another true stress-buster – so combined art classes and regular social contact will soon have your stress levels under control.
Tap in to your artistic side and tune out the stress with some serious creative moves. Catch an art habit and let that therapy soon work its magic on you…