Art Therapy and Stress Relief
Art therapy is a wonderful way of releasing stored up stress and anger. Not only can you tap into and release past hurts but you can also let go of current stressful situations.
Art therapy is one of my favourite stress relief techniques. I have been using and growing with this technique for about 6 years now.
It is a relatively new form of therapy but I find that it is just as useful in releasing stress as many traditional therapies.
What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a form of therapeutic practice which uses art in order to deal with emotions and issues. It is a therapy which empowers the user through the use of art and creativity.
It is possible to visit a professional art therapist which is recommended but there are also many techniques you can use at home. Please see below.
Benefits of Art Therapy
The benefits I have found from this therapy are as follows:
• Able to shift moods very quickly indeed: releasing anger and unhappiness almost instantaneously.
• Helped me cope with workplace stress. Used to paint in my lunch breaks when working in corporate environment. Rather than holding onto comments customers or colleagues had made, I used to release it through my artwork.
• Helped me to flow with my emotions, expressing what I felt. By doing this I was able to overcome depression and anxiety.
• It’s great fun
• One can be a child again: splash paint and let your hair down (watch the videos below!)
• Everyone can do it, including children – especially children. If your child can’t express what they feel get them to do some of the techniques below
Art Exercise 1 (Time needed: 10 minutes)
• A pencil or a pen
• A piece of paper or cardboard
1. Take the pencil and place it on the paper
2. Close your eyes and focus on the stress or problem you have encountered.
3. When you have found the place in your body the stress exists, start to move the pencil around. This is likely to be very quickly.
Focus on that thought and release it through movement onto the paper. Allow your emotion to dictate what comes out and not your mind. It’s not meant to look like any thing – just an expression of your soul.
4. Do this exercise up to 3 times but then take a break. Sometimes we can go very deep with this exercise so take care and be kind. I cry quite often when I do this exercise, so tears are fine – they help to shift what you are holding onto and frees up a huge amount of pleasure.
Art Exercise 2 (Time needed: 1 hour)
• A sheet of cardboard (department stores or supermarkets get rid of cardboard once a week. In the UK, Woolworths is the place I go and get my cardboard from).
• Messy clothes to wear
• Medium sized household brush (but using the other end)
• Bucket or sink to wash hands in + old towel for drying
1. Rub paint onto your hands and then rub it onto the cardboard. Choose colours according to your intuition rather than what you “think”. What colour do you “feel” like using. Use this part to “open up” the body and the emotions. What do you need to express?
2. With the household brush use the other end from the bristles. Focusing on your stress really scour and let go of any anger on to the cardboard. No matter how hard you press you won’t go through the cardboard (don’t worry – I’ve tried!)
3. Using bottles of paint, either throw, flick, pour or drop paint onto the cardboard (think Jackson Pollock – the original man of art therapy!)
Now that you’ve freed up your emotion you should be able to dance and have fun now. Enjoy yourself, flow with your newly claimed energy, the stress is gone and the happiness and flow of the universe is now here.
4. Repeat as often as necessary!
DIY Art Therapy Video
Try it out and see if it works for you. It truly is a great stress relief technique and I recommend everyone to try…