08 Nov Reducing Stress Through Art
Reducing stress and anxiety is crucial! So many studies have shown that chronic stress negatively impacts our health, leaving us vulnerable to many nasty physical conditions ranging from infections to insomnia. Here are some ways to use art and creativity to help reduce stress.
The repetitive movements needed for drawing help you focus concentration onto your hands and your eyes, which gently relaxes both your body and your mind. The rhythm and slight monotony of repetitive movements are one way our bodies can come down from a stress response. By reducing stress we also reduce blood pressure, breathing, and pulse rates, which in turn make us feel calmer and less stressed.
Since much stress comes from having repetitive anxious thoughts, shifting our attention away from them through meditation can really disrupt their flow. Creating art can also be a form of meditation as it focuses our attention on our senses, for example drawing makes us more aware of what we are seeing, and then we use feel to move the pencil to create the needed marks.
Releasing Unpleasant Emotions
It’s so tempting to bury strong emotions, but doing so only increases stress, but art can offer us a safe space to release those unpleasant emotions. Because art is nonverbal it is often easier to use to express what we are feeling deeply, as it can be done without needing words. Finding images that reflect what we are really feeling can be a safe and helpful way of uncovering and releasing unpleasant emotions.
Stress is often our reaction to an imagined threat rather than a real one, so re-interpreting the potentially stressful situation can help reduce our stress. By moving the problem over into an art project we can start to see the situation that is stressing us in a new light, and that can be calming and stress-reducing. Simply by changing shapes and colors we can make an image look very different – as can turning a picture upside down and re-evaluating what we then see in the picture.
Becoming More Self-aware
Sometimes we are so stressed we can barely even acknowledge it to ourselves. As we know ourselves better, we can more readily identify that we are stressed and do something to relive it. Art can help us safely look what is going on inside our heads, and can also bring us realizations and awareness of a situation, which can also help us move forwards from worrying about it. Art is always a great way of giving ourselves a brief time out from life, so the next time you realize you are feeling stressed, pick up some art supplies and play until you feel calmer!