Stress and anxiety can be persistent, specifically when you try to overlook it. It resembles a child who refuses to take no for a response and just gets louder and louder. Up until they’re tossing a full-blown temper tantrum on the flooring of your regional Target.
Stress and anxiety also is a feeling we typically abhor. We see it as a foe, as something we need to combat and beat. Which suggests we don’t desire anything to do with it. And also implies it remains unprocessed and misconstrued.
What can help is art-making. Art-making offers us the chance to explore. It also offers a non-intimidating way to process our stress and anxiety.
What is Art-making?
Art-making helps us access parts of the brain that words can not. “Many people find that it feels much easier, much safer and much more comfortable to reveal hard sensations through art-making instead of [composing],” said Hannah Wilson, LPC, ATR-BC. Wilson is a certified expert counselor and board-certified art therapist in Washington, D.C. She uses holistic, injury informed care that combines standard talk, art and sand tray therapy. This treatment focuses on deepening the mind, body, spirit connection. Because traumatic and difficult experiences are stored in a different way in our brains, it makes it more difficult to fully access them and their associated sensations with composing alone, she stated.
The act of art-making also can soothe us. “Being creative helps to engage our minds in a positive, fulfilling activity,” stated Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT-S, ATR-BC. Mehlomakulu is a board-certified art therapist and licensed marital relationship and household therapist supervisor. She blogs about art therapy and has a private practice treating clients with trauma and anxiety. “When you are focusing on your art and what you are producing, it offers a way to turn your mind away from anxious, difficult ideas.”
It redirects the mind and breaks what can often “feel like an unstoppable loop” of nervous thoughts, said Becky Butler, LPC, ATR-BC. Butler is a psychotherapist and board-certified art therapist. She works with clients to do the following:
- Help satisfy goals,
- Modify unhealthy habits,
- Discover brand-new strengths,
- Enhance self-expression,
- Motivate healing.
5 Art Journaling Techniques to Help with Anxiety
One specific strategy is art journaling. This is just “using a journal for artistic self-expression,” Mehlomakulu said. Art journaling involves our sensations and ideas.”[M]aking art in the journal to express hard feelings like stress and anxiety can help somebody to name the emotion and acknowledge, then launch it on to the page, lessening the strength of the sensation.” Because when we keep nervous ideas and feelings inside ourselves, our anxiety just expands.
Below you’ll discover five methods to use art journaling for your anxiety. Bear in mind that you don’t have to be an artist to take advantage of these strategies any more than you need to be an author to take advantage of journaling. And the “quality” of your creations doesn’t matter. Concentrate on revealing yourself. That’s what matters, and that’s where the magic is.
“Not all art journaling has to be significant, meaningful, or symbolic,” Mehlomakulu stated. In some cases, just doodling and scribbling provides our minds a break from anxious thinking, she said. “Many individuals discover it soothing and unwinding to produce recurring patterns on their page or to color in all the shapes developed by a scribble.”
Lots of people feel calm, relaxed and focused when drawing mandalas. (Mandalas are circular patterns that contain elaborate information.) It can be meditative. Begin by drawing a circle. Then, fill it with anything you like. “I like to start by drawing a small shape in the very center and then include symbols and lines matching each other horizontally and vertically. By the end, I have a full design that I can color, ” says Butler.
Produce art motivated by meditation.
Listen to an assisted meditation or practice meditation on your own, Mehlomakulu stated. Develop art in response to the experience. “You may utilize art to reveal the images or symbols that pertained to your mind or visually represent what your observed throughout mindfulness.”
Draw a safe space.
Both Butler and Mehlomakulu recommended thinking about a place that assists you to feel safe and calm. This may be a place from your past or a fictional space. It might be anything from a cozy bed room to a familiar hike to granny’s kitchen to the couch snuggling with your pet. Show what you see, smell, hear, taste and feel. “Engaging the 5 senses use being conscious, which normally assists minimize anxiety,” says Butler. You likewise may discuss what security indicates for you. The next time you feel nervous, picture your safe area, Mehlomakulu stated.
Capture your anxiety.
Wilson suggested using shapes, colors and lines to produce an image of your stress and anxiety. What does your anxiety appear like? What does it seem like? “Don’t fret about drawing a ‘image.'” As soon as you’ve completed your image, ask yourself the following concerns? Can I include something so the anxiety feels less intense? Would it feel great to destroy the paper and toss it? Or to shred it or burn it? How might I release it? Is there something I want to say to my stress and anxiety? Wilson suggested stating it aloud if so.
Mehlomakulu kept in mind, taking a look at your developments in your art journal can assist you gain insights into your stress and anxiety. It can clarify your worths, track modifications and detect your own patterns. Perhaps you discover that your stress and anxiety spikes in the summer season. Maybe you discover that anger typically accompanies your anxiety.
Art journaling is just one strategy that can assist with stress and anxiety. If you’re interested in checking out more art-inspired strategies in a healing way, Butler suggested discovering a registered art therapist at the American Art Therapy Association.
If you want to start art journaling, check out my post: 10 Art Journaling Materials Required in Your Life.