Many of us need to find calm and peace in our lives to help manage stress. Mindfulness teaches us how to live “in the moment” so we free our minds of thoughts that cause anxiety. Art therapy as a mindfulness tool can be very effective. Art occupies our minds in a very positive way allowing us to express ourselves.
Creating art does not require a skill. Instead, it allows you to use creativity as an outlet for expression of self to experience a profound, healing sense of calm and self-awareness. Multiple studies show that art therapy improves quality of life, daily challenges, stress, and burnout. Here I explain the many benefits of using art therapy as an effective stress management and wellness tool.
Fostering Self-Connection and Acceptance
To connect with our true selves, we need to create a sense of space between the thoughts that make us anxious and who we really are. Negative thoughts promote negative feelings that distort our vision of self. As a result, it is difficult to experience the freeing feeling of self-connection.
Our past conditions us to become preoccupied with the negative emotions our thoughts bring on, making it impossible to find peace. Through art, you create that space so you can avoid the negative feelings brought on by the ongoing conversation you have with yourself. You become more conscious as you create, helping to muffle the negative voice that keeps you from realizing and accepting your true self.
Awareness of Mind and Body
Art allows us to recognize the connection between mind and body. As our creative thoughts overcome negative chatter, we free our minds and connect with our bodies for a meaningful mind-body experience. That connection comes from a different place where we experience stillness and peace of mind. Art is an activity that allows creativity to flow from your mind through your hands to produce something very tangible. Practicing art therapy eventually allows you to toss aside the idea of the body and become completely involved in the flow of ideas as a vehicle to free the mind.
Art therapy creates its own language. You can create visuals that connect with individuals in very different ways. Instead of words, images communicate on a non-verbal level. It is a conduit for self-expression. Producing art reflects different levels of emotion, from extreme anger or sadness to joy and contentment. You can use color and various mediums and imagery to speak volumes about what you are feeling. When you step back and reflect on your work you gain a valuable introspective that encourages further unedited self-expression to release your stress.
Art Demands Nothing of You
Art demands nothing of you and allows you to simply enjoy the moment. We are raised to believe we must be happy, when happiness itself is a fleeting response to events in our lives. It is impossible to always be happy as we would not be able to detect happiness without also experiencing negative emotions such as sadness, anger, and fear.
When you put pressure on yourself to achieve happiness instead of experiencing each moment as it comes, you increase the risk of disappointment. Art provides moments of pleasure that relieve you of the pressures and demands of daily life.
If you would like to learn more about workshops and retreats to help manage and heal from burnout or stress, reach out to me today.