Most of us haven’t drawn anything, painted or even picked up a paintbrush after school life; unless you are a professional, painting or coloring is something we associate with children. However, art is considered to be a therapy these days, especially since we are all living extremely busy, high-stress lives.
In fact, art therapy is gradually proving to be one of the best ways to deal with not just stress, but also with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and low self-confidence, emotional conflicts and overall mental well-being.
Art therapy is something professional counselors and therapists prescribe and advise patients struggling with mental health. There are actually a lot of ways that we can incorporate art therapy in our life and feel better, and deal with any of the problems we have in our life.
Here is a list of ways that art therapy can help.
- Choose Colors that Expresses What you are Feeling.
Most of the times, it’s not what we draw that’s important, but the colors that we use. Not a lot of people can draw what’s on our minds, actually; we are more self-conscious than children about our art. In fact, children can simply draw gibberish and be proud of their talent, while adults have trouble expressing themselves with pencils and paint.
If you are not sure what you want to draw or whether your art can really express what you are feeling inside, focus on the colors. Colors have the power to soothe a restless mind more than anything else we can try! Try mixing various paints together to help relax yourself; the right shades of paint on a piece of canvas can help your express yourself in ways that words cannot. Bright colors like yellow, red and orange can be the balm your fidgety heart needs if you are feeling anxious or unsteady, and the subtle ones like blue and green can make you tranquil inside. When you are in a dark and dangerous mood, using black or brown on your canvas would be the perfect way to express your anger, frustration or resentment.
Therefore, if you aren’t too excited or too confident about your skills as an artist, focus on the colors instead. Don’t worry about what exactly you are drawing or painting, but use the colors to express your mood. The mere action of mixing various colors together, spreading them on a piece of blank canvas or rubbing a piece of oil pastel viciously on a piece of paper – these are the kind of therapy everyone needs sometimes in their lives. Choose the type of paint that suits you the best, and use them to express yourself.
- Allow Your Mind the Freedom It Needs.
Art therapy isn’t about skill or precision; on the other hand, it’s all about the freedom you are allowing yourself. When you feel the need to express yourself, don’t restrict yourself to a particular kind of art. Don’t tell yourself to “draw a landscape” or “stick to the bright” colors. Rather, give your mind the freedom to do anything with the canvas and the paint you have.
When you give yourself the choice to express yourself, it can help you through a number of inner turmoil and pain. You can simply fill up a blank canvas with random paint, try and draw your own portrait, or that of your loved ones, scribble important words over and over again, or draw random shapes and objects. The point of art therapy is to help your express both your good and bad emotions, and you must have the freedom to do so.
- Try Coloring, if not Painting.
Coloring isn’t just for kids; this is also an activity many adults enjoy and like to spend time on. Adult coloring books are completely different from the coloring books for children. They are more detailed and needs a lot of attention from the user.
If you are not comfortable with painting, these adult coloring books are also an excellent way to move your focus from what’s troubling you to a more creative medium. It is especially Mandala coloring books that are designed to soothe a troubled mind. Mandalas are special kind of designs that promote harmony and balance; these patterns are drawn in such a uniform way that coloring each part of it can make the most agitated person feel relaxed.
- Play with Meaningful Words.
Another great way to deal with negative emotions, stress or sadness is to include certain words that are bothering you in art therapy. Choose a word that explains exactly what you are feeling, – i.e. hopelessness, desperation, misfortune or loneliness – and work on them. Write the words in big letters across your canvas or piece of paper, and paint them in colors that suit your mood. Draw various other things around the word of your choice: both positive objects like butterflies and flowers or dark objects that are more ominous.
Instead of hiding yourself or your emotions, let them all out in the form of a word that’s meaningful to you at that moment. Play with words instead of holding them inside, and turn them into personal pieces of art. While you’re working with a certain word, think about it thoroughly; think about how the word makes you feel, and urge yourself to rise above it, accept it or fight against it- whatever the situation demands.
- Choose A More Practical Medium
Art therapy doesn’t just have to be about paint and canvas; in fact, you can try any sort of creative outlet to express yourself. There’s no definite limit to what constitutes as art therapy. Besides doodling, coloring, drawing and painting, you can choose some other mediums of it, i.e. making sculptures, collages, quilling, taking photographs, painting on fabric or clothes, designing clothes, digital art, typography, pottery, etc.
Therefore, there’s no limit to which medium of art you can choose for your mental well-being. If you don’t want to spend time or money on pieces of art you won’t have any use for later, choose a more practical medium to express yourself. Instead of painting on canvas, try making sculptures or pottery; or, design your own clothes or draw on blank T-shirts that you can wear. Make pottery that you can use at home or give away to friends as gifts – this can be a very good application of your skills and time. Even baking and decorating cakes are considered to be a form of art these days, and it is a pretty useful skill to have.
It doesn’t really matter which form of art therapy you choose as long as it helps you to deal with whatever emotion is bothering you. The main objective of incorporating art therapy in your life is to find help expressing yourself, and to deal with the mental dilemmas in your life, and any kind of art therapy can help you splendidly with it.