Transform your mental health with art therapy; 10 powerful activities to ease anxiety, depression | Health - Hindustan Times
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Transform your mental health with art therapy; 10 powerful activities to ease anxiety, depression

By, New Delhi
Apr 19, 2024 05:37 PM IST

A creative way to express and communicate, art therapy is all about resolving issues at a deeper level and bringing about change in behaviour and feelings.

Whether you are a seasoned artist or an amateur, introducing creative arts to your daily routine can work wonders for your mental health. From warding off anxiety and stress to promoting peace of mind, painting, sculpting, journaling, clay work can all help in destressing and keeping negative feelings at bay. According to research, art therapy can help reduce distress, boost brain power and improve self-esteem. It can also make you more resilient and brings mind, body and spirit in harmony. (Also read | Are live-in relationships good for mental health? 5 pros and cons explained)

According to research, art therapy can help reduce distress, boost brain power and improve self-esteem. It can also make you more resilient and brings mind, body and spirit in harmony.(Pixabay)
According to research, art therapy can help reduce distress, boost brain power and improve self-esteem. It can also make you more resilient and brings mind, body and spirit in harmony.(Pixabay)

Through art therapy one can be transported to the state of harmony and mindfulness. By channelling your energy into creation, one can help balance their emotions and move towards positivity. A creative way to express and communicate, art therapy is all about resolving issues at a deeper level and bringing about change in behaviour and feelings.

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Brittany Hunt, Therapist and Head of Quality, Innovation and Research Department at Clinic Les Alpes, a Switzerland-based addiction treatment centre, in an interview with HT Digital talks about art therapy and its benefits for anxiety and depression.

What is art therapy, and how does it help your mental health?

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By expressing oneself through art, individuals can manage behaviours, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-awareness. The creative process involved in expressing one’s self artistically can help people to resolve issues as well as develop and manage their behaviours and feelings, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem and awareness.

5 techniques to use art therapy for relieving anxiety

1. Mindful painting: Focusing on the process of painting rather than the final outcome can help in managing anxiety. Mindful painting allows individuals to stay present in the moment, which can alleviate anxious thoughts.

2. Clay work: Working with clay is a tactile experience that can be incredibly grounding. The physicality of molding clay can help draw attention away from anxious thoughts and channel energy into the creation process.

3. Collage creating: Assembling a collage from various materials can help articulate feelings that are hard to express with words. This can be particularly therapeutic for those who experience anxiety as it allows for an abstract expression of emotions.

4. Doodling and scribbling: Simple doodling or scribbling can be a quick and accessible way to relieve anxiety. It’s an act that can release nervous energy and provide a distraction from anxiety-inducing thoughts.

5. Photography: It can help focus on the beauty of the outside world and shift focus away from internal stress. It encourages mindfulness and can be a powerful tool to manage anxiety through creative expression.

5 activities for managing depression through art therapy

1. Painting to music: Listening to music while painting can help enhance mood and stimulate creativity. The combination of music and visual art can be particularly uplifting for individuals experiencing depression.

2. Sculpture: Engaging in sculpture can be a way to convey emotions physically and symbolically, which can be cathartic for people dealing with depression.

3. Art journaling: Keeping an art journal is a continuous, private activity that allows for the expression of emotions regularly. This practice can help individuals process their feelings daily and track their mood over time.

4. Fabric art: Working with textiles and fabrics, such as quilting or knitting, not only is therapeutic but also provides a sense of accomplishment and pride, which can counter feelings of worthlessness commonly experienced in depression.

5. Finger painting: This can be a playful and spontaneous art activity that rekindles joy and spontaneity, often suppressed by depression. It can be particularly beneficial in reconnecting with one’s inner child and simpler times of joy.

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