Stress Relief Using Art Therapy

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In recent years there has been much written about the healing benefits of art therapy, and serious illnesses involving stress. Once considered a useless waste of time, art therapy is making headlines with its undeniable success rates among individuals suffering from various disorders. However, anyone dealing with varying degrees of stress can benefit from art therapy.
How does art therapy work?
* Experimenting with art in all its different forms allows you to express your feelings. For some people this is an easy project, but for those who keep their feelings suppressed, and hidden from everyone including themselves, it is far more difficult. Re-establishing connections to the inner workings of your heart is essential to living a low stress existence.
* Releasing pent up anger can change your mood and lower stress levels. Using art is a wonderful way to pour out your feelings without the burden of finding words to represent them.
* Art allows you to rediscover your inner child. Remember what it was like to not have to colour inside the lines? Or when the sky could be green and pigs purple? No? Well you are not alone. Most adults feel compelled to follow a list of rules that only undermine the essential components of creativity. Maturing and settling into responsibility may be a necessary part of growing up, but there are certain privileges children have that we could all benefit from. The freedom to express ourselves using art is one of them. Toss aside the rules and simply create. You might be surprised with what you see.
* Working with clay and other physical, hands on art mediums maximizes the pressure points of the hands that naturally aide in the release of stress.
* You can lose yourself in art projects. Let the troubles of the world fall away as your mind refocuses on the beauty and wonder of colour and texture. Art allows to us let go of the constraints that bind us to the conformity of the world for a moment in time.
* It is easy to allow the pressures of our day consume us. Art allows us to reflect inward and relearn something about ourselves we might have forgotten. Even if you are the kind of person who feels intimidated by creativity it is worth the personal stretch of trying something new. Pick up a paintbrush and start dabbling with colour. What do you see? Take a pottery class and immerse yourself in the mess and chaos. Try your hand at abstract. Sculpt and design using scraps and materials lying around the house.

Remember: there are no rules! Art therapists believe that art triggers an internal activity within us helping to heal emotional, spiritual, and even physical scars. It is a language without words, and a form of communication open to interpretation. “Art therapy is considered a mind-body intervention that can influence physiological and psychological symptoms. The experience of expressing oneself creatively can reawaken positive emotions and address symptoms of emotional numbing in individuals with PTSD.” – Josée Leclerc, a professor in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies

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