Curious about art therapy for stress? You’re not alone. While art has always been a highly popular pastime, it’s surged in recent years as a tool for stress relief, with individuals of all skill levels discovering just how big of a positive impact art can have on their mental health.
There are so many benefits to embracing your inner artist. And whether you’re just getting started or have been practicing your craft for years, you’ve probably found that it’s had a marked ability to reduce stress along the way. In this post, we’re looking at how art works to relieve stress and anxiety—plus sharing some easy art projects that anyone can do to pick up some mental health benefits.
The Relationship of Art and Mental Health
Researchers have long been looking into how engaging with art serves to combat stress. In one recent study, it was found that just 45 minutes of creative activity can greatly reduce levels of cortisol—aka the stress hormone—regardless of an individual’s age or artistic experience. That’s great news for anyone looking to explore art as a potential means of stress relief, as well as for those who have wondered (but not had proof of) art’s unique benefits when it comes to mental health.
There are a myriad of ways that art helps address the mental and physical symptoms of stress, including:
Serving as a safe means of expression.Art allows all of us to tap into our emotions without expressing them out loud. For many, this offers a new avenue of expression without the limitations (or possible judgements) of verbal speech.
Providing an immersive distraction.It’s not uncommon to become completely immersed in an art project, letting the outside world fade away as time passes without notice. This state is similar to meditation, and offers many of the same stress-relieving benefits.
Acting as self-care.Self-care is essential to combating stress. And when we do something we love, whether it’s art, music, or any other type of hobby, we give ourselves the gift of care—and reap the benefits of doing so.
There’s no doubt that art is an effective way to reduce stress, or that anyone can enjoy it as a stress-relieving experience. So perhaps the better question is: why wouldn’t you try art therapy for your mental health?
Simple Art Projects for Stress Relief
Remember, you don’t need to be a skilled artist in order to get its therapeutic properties. With that in mind, here are some easy projects you might want to try:
- Paint by numbers
- Diamond art kits
- Playdough/clay modeling
- Coloring books
- Pottery painting
- Leaf pressing
- Sidewalk art