How art can help you relax


How art can help you relax

There are so many people who struggle with stress and anxiety on a daily basis. And that’s not healthy. Stress, if not handled well, can cause a person to experience symptoms of illness. All it takes is a few moments every day of managing one's stress, to try and reduce the feeling of anxiety. And there are so many activities that will do the trick before any medication would need to be prescribed.  

It’s been scientifically proven that art helps people relax. Which is why we want to explore all the different ways that art is able to help and be an outlet for unwanted stress. Well, let’s be honest, all stress is unwanted.

And it’s not about becoming the next best artist in the country. It’s about a personal journey of art therapy in order to take control of your stress and anxiety. The world doesn’t have to see what you’ve created unless, of course, it’s actually pretty good and you think it would do well on the market… but that’s not the goal. The goal is to relax through art.


Art as an expression

When one starts getting creative, it’s an act of taking what has been built up in the mind and body and releasing it onto a canvas, piece of clay or pages of a book. Art helps you to relax because it can be an expression of the anxiety and stress from your body, onto the medium – a way of getting it out of your system.

Also, this process of drawing, painting or working out your emotions with art is a way of working through them as well. You may not be aware of exactly what it is that’s causing you anxiety until you start releasing and exploring different ideas through visual expressions. Using art to express how you feel is a form of journaling (which has also been said to help those who struggle with stress).

But art doesn’t always need to be an expression of negativity. Art is an opportunity to capture, document and remember the happy times and the things in life that naturally tend to relax you. Take your camera with you the next time you go for a walk, draw the sunset scene from your bedroom window or photograph the smiles of strangers.

Art will always be an expression of something and it shouldn’t always be an outlet to materialise your anxiety. Then when you look back at what you’ve created, you can be reminded of how you were able to work through a difficult time, as well as appreciate the positivity in life.


Art as a means to “switch-off”

On the other hand, there doesn’t need to be too much thought behind creating art. Sometimes all we’re looking for is an escape and a way to switch-off from the stressful world around us. Adult colouring-in books are the solution.

You’re not always going to feel inspired to create something of your own. Grabbing pencil crayons and focusing on staying inside the lines can be all the art therapy you need. In this scenario, art serves as a distraction and is the “deep breath” moment you need to get away from your issues before you find the right headspace to tackle the problem in.

Art is a means of calming the mind before facing the issues at hand in order to be productive about it instead of destructive. And colouring-in also requires less time and effort when wanting to try and relax as opposed to creating something of your own. If you don’t have an hour or more to relax, then colouring-in for a few minutes every day is a more realistic option.


Art as something to relate to

Art can also help you relax just by looking at it. This means that you don’t need to be a creative person in order to benefit from the relaxing properties of art therapy. Regular visits to one of the many African art galleries or investing in art pieces for your house can help you to relax and process stress.

Artists usually create their masterpieces from a place of emotion (much like you do when you take a paintbrush to a blank canvas). This is also why not everyone understands every piece of art because they might not be going through the same emotions as the artist was at the time they were creating it.

Sometimes all you need is to interpret and connect with a piece of art in order to escape and share an artist’s expression of emotion. They create art in order for people to relate to it. And that, for many people who struggle with stress and anxiety, is a comforting truth. To know that they aren’t the only ones to experience those emotions and express them in a certain way.