Brushing Away Stress: The Healing Magic of Art
Amid the chaos of our everyday routines, we often forget to slow down and catch our breath. We may frequently neglect to hit the pause button, art offers us that pause. Whether you’re a skillful artist or an occasional doodler, the act of creating can be a helpful tool for regulating stress and promoting mental well-being.
Engaging in art can be a mindful practice, drawing your attention away from stressors and into the present moment. The strokes of a paintbrush or the lines on a notepad become a form of meditation, helping the mind focus on the physical sensations of creating art and may bring a sense of calmness. This meditative quality can be found in all forms of art, including activities like coloring or doodling.
When you immerse yourself in a creative activity such as painting, drawing, or sculpting, your brain responds by activating the brain's reward center, releasing feel-good chemicals like dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation. This neurochemical response is one of the reasons why creating art can be a fulfilling and mood-enhancing experience.
A Safe Space for Exploration
Making art can be a difficult process for many people, some may avoid using art because they believe they are not “good” or worry that others may judge their artistic abilities, it's important to recognize that the purpose of creating art is not solely focused on the end result, rather the therapeutic benefits of art that come from the process itself.
Using art as a coping mechanism is beneficial in many ways including:
· Stress-reduction - Engaging in art can be an effective way to reduce stress and increase relaxation
· Self-Awareness - Art has a significant impact on promoting self-awareness by providing a unique outlet for individuals to express, explore, and release creativity. The process of creating art can be both reflective and transformative, promoting introspection and self-exploration.
· Tool of Communication - Creating art allows individuals to communicate emotions in a non-verbal way. Helping people convey emotions that may be difficult to verbalize.
· Social Connection - The art we create helps us tell stories or understand perspectives other than our own. Sharing creative moments with loved ones and our community turns art into a shared experience. Families can bond over art projects and make it a collaborative process.
I invite you to let go of the idea that you must be gifted artistically to create. Incorporating and including art into your routine can be a powerful tool for stress relief and self-care.
By Ruthie Gonzalez, Master of Social Work Intern, University of Kansas
Scholistico. (2023, March 26). Art and Mental Health: Boosting Well-Being with Creative
Artist: Kira Cyan