It’s no secret that the number of people living with anxiety has skyrocketed in recent years. There is a long list of factors in our day to day lives that contribute to stress and worry.
What can help us cope?
Medical studies suggest that our brains need an outlet in which we can release the pent up feelings of stress.
Getting our negative thoughts out in the open is an essential part of our natural coping mechanism. For some, they find that expressing their worries verbally helps to alleviate the mental pressure. Others find comfort in writing their emotions down on paper, via journaling, poetry, or even songwriting. However, you may have tried these methods only to find them unsuccessful in relieving your feelings of anxiety. If this is the case, you may consider giving art therapy a try.
Creating art has been shown to reduce your body’s levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) while boosting levels of endorphins (one of the four main happiness chemicals in your body).
Here are a few other positive effects that creating art can have.
- Art calms the mind – People with chronic anxiety often suffer from sensory overstimulation. Everyday sights, sounds, and smells can become too much to process all at once, sometimes leading to panic or anxiety attacks. Creating a work of art can have a grounding effect on the mind. It gives your brain a single task to focus on, distracting you from everything else going on around you.
- It Increases self-awareness – When we engage in creative works, we frequently discover things about ourselves that we weren’t aware of before.
- Art promotes a sense of satisfaction. Seeing the finished product of your time and hard work can give you something to feel proud of.
You may be thinking to yourself, “this all sounds great, but I’m not a very artistic person.” Fortunately, You don’t have to have Van Gogh level talent to benefit from art therapy. Here are a few art projects that you can benefit from, regardless of your skill level.
Get Yourself a Coloring Book!
Coloring books aren’t just for kids. These days there is a massive market for coloring books designed specifically for adults. The pages of detailed illustrations can keep your mind occupied and relaxed for hours. In the process, your mind will enter a meditative state that helps you forget about your worries.
Doodling, or “spontaneous drawing,” as some scientists call it, is a great way to alleviate the effects of psychiatric distress. A study from Drexel University revealed an exciting effect that freehand drawing has on our brains. Doodling (specifically geometric shapes), stimulates more blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. This is the brain’s “reward center” that is activated by singing, dancing, or laughing.
Create a Collage
Creating a “cut and paste” collage can help you express feelings through photographs or even other artwork. Think of the emotion or theme you want to express and then search for images or words in old magazines, books, or newspapers you have lying around the house. Cut them out, then glue them together to form a work of art.
Managing anxiety is no easy task. It can seem like a losing battle at times, but hopefully, one of these art projects can help you find some relief. You may just discover that there is an inner artist that is trying to come out. If you are looking for inspiration, be sure to check out the wall decor page of the Art For Your Cause website.