Why You Need The Art Therapy Approach to Reducing Stress

December 19, 2021 4 min read

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If you find doodling relaxing, there’s science that supports your opinion. A number of studies suggest that art therapy and other creative activities can have positive effects on your brain, including stress reduction.

For example, some research has found that making art or just visiting an art museum can lower stress hormones like cortisol. Other studies say that sculpting and drawing can increase blood flow to the reward centers in your brain and increase the happiness hormone dopamine. 

Working with a trained art therapist maximizes these results. However, you can also see some benefits from expressing your creativity on your own too.

why you need the art therapy approach to reducing stress

What is art therapy?

Art therapy is a type of psychotherapy that uses art-making as a way to help people express themselves, reduce stress, and work through emotional issues.

While art therapy is often used to help treat mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, it can also be beneficial for anyone who wants to explore their emotions or identify stressors in their life.

A few examples of art therapy are:

  • Drawing and painting
  • Coloring
  • Sculpting and clay modeling
  • Photography
  • Collage making

How does art therapy work?

Art therapy can work in a number of ways. For some people, the process of creating art is therapeutic in and of itself. The act of making art can help you to get out of your head and into your body, which can be a helpful way to cope with stress.

In addition, art therapy can also provide a space for you to process your thoughts and emotions in a non-verbal way. This can be helpful if you find it difficult to express yourself verbally.

Finally, art therapy can also help you to develop insight into your stressors and how to cope with them. Working with a trained art therapist can provide you with guidance and support as you explore your emotions.

What are the benefits of art therapy?

There are a number of potential benefits of art therapy, including:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Improving mood
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Developing coping skills
  • Exploring emotions
  • Increasing insight

How do you do art therapy?

If you're interested in trying art therapy, there are a few ways to get started. You can find trained art therapists in many mental health clinics and hospitals. You can also contact your local community center or search for art therapy programs online.

If you want to try art therapy on your own, there are a number of books and websites that can provide guidance. You can also find art therapy groups in many communities. These groups can provide support and feedback as you explore your creativity.

No matter how you choose to do art therapy, the important thing is to find an activity that you enjoy and that helps you to feel relaxed and motivated. art therapy is a great way to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. So get creative and give it a try!

Tips for Using Art to Reduce Stress:

  1. Have fun. Your studio skills are less important than your attitude. Pick a project you find interesting and let go of expectations. Try to immerse yourself in the experience.
  2. Block out time. If you sit around waiting for inspiration to strike, your canvas may remain blank. Designate a portion of each day for creative efforts. You could start out with 15-minute sessions and work your way up.
  3. Design a space. It also helps to have one or more spots in your home where you can work on your masterpieces. Turn a guest room into your private studio. Keep your supplies in a portable caddy that you can carry to your backyard or sunroom, depending on the weather.
  4. Experiment with different media. Are you feeling overwhelmed by choices? Start with something you liked as a child or visit your local library for ideas. Branch out when you’re ready for your next challenge. Try these printable art therapy coloring pages for adults
  5. Take lessons. You can fight stress by drawing stick figures and building popsicle stick boxes. However, a little instruction might increase your motivation and help you to express yourself more fully.
  6. Try coloring books. The market for adult coloring books keeps growing, and it’s an easy way to begin. There’s even some evidence that coloring inside a shape is especially effective for enhancing your mood.
  7. Share your work. Talk about your art with others. Join social media groups for painters and potters. You can give each other constructive feedback and post pictures about what you’re doing.
  8. Find an art therapist. Working with a professional is likely to have more impact, as you’ll have more opportunities for discussion and reflection. Contact your local chapter of the American Art Therapy Association to find resources near you.

Other Natural Methods for Reducing Stress:

  1. Strengthen your focus. Make your art projects part of your self-care. Train yourself to make conscious decisions and focus on one activity at a time.
  2. Eat healthy. Choose foods that help to reduce stress and stabilize your mood. Ensure that your diet includes plenty of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Limit alcohol, caffeine, and added sugars.
  3. Sleep well. Adequate amounts of high-quality rest make you more resilient too. Stick to a consistent bedtime that allows you to wake up naturally feeling refreshed and recharged.
  4. Stay active. Physical exercise is another constructive method for dealing with daily pressures. You may even enjoy some creative breakthroughs while you’re lifting weights or swimming laps.
  5. Consider counseling. Simple arts and crafts are a pleasant way to spend your time, but you may need more assistance if you’re dealing with significant anxiety or depression. Talk with your doctor about art therapy and other treatment options appropriate for your individual needs.

Make art part of your daily life! Fight stress with your own creative activities or find an art therapist who can help you focus on your personal development and empowerment.

Whether you’re a seasoned artist or have never picked up a paintbrush in your life, art therapy can be an incredibly effective way to reduce stress. By using colors and shapes to express yourself, you can tap into emotions and feelings that might be difficult to put into words. Leave a comment below and let us know how art therapy has helped you relax and unwind!

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