Maybe you feel like these are strange times we’re living in.
Maybe you’re not sure what to do with all of the day-to-day anxiety you feel.
And of all the things you could think to do to relieve your anxiety, creating just isn’t one of them.
If you’re nodding your head “yes”, then today’s post is for you.
In this post, we dive into:
- How creativity reduces anxiety & improves your health & wellness
- 4 myths about creativity that need to be debunked stat
- The power of using art as a motivational and emotional-coping tool
And this post is a special one because a summary of this information was presented on the Kick Off Your Damn Heels podcast with Dr. Teralyn Farmer Sell.
If you would like to get started using art to both relieve your anxiety and help you get clear on your wellness goals, then check out this FREE printable – Healthy. Happy. Creative. A Contemplative Coloring Book.
HOW CREATIVITY REDUCES ANXIETY & IMPROVES HEALTH & WELLNESS
Creativity (and especially art-making) helps reduce anxiety by reducing the level of cortisol produced in the body and by allowing you to become mindful.
Not in the mood for the crystals and pan flutes version of mindfulness?
The act of creating art itself IS a form of mindfulness.
Focusing on the colors, textures, and lines in your art can be just as cathartic sitting for a mindfulness meditation.
So what is mindfulness?
To put it simply, mindfulness is observation without criticism.
Another way to think about mindfulness is that it’s paying attention without judging.
Practicing mindfulness includes the following 4 steps:
- Observe (you either observe your own thoughts or some aspect of your senses, such as something you see, hear, smell, taste or can touch)
- Describe (you describe what you observe either through speaking, journaling, or art)
- Participate (you are willing to participate fully in the experience)
- Be (you describe what you observe without judgment and while concentrating on one thing at a time)
So, what are the health and wellness benefits of becoming mindful?
- Reduces worry and anxiety
- Fights depression
- Helps you lose weight
- Lowers daily stress
- Helps you sleep better
- Lowers your blood pressure
And that’s only some of the long list of science-backed benefits of mindfulness.
4 MYTHS ABOUT CREATIVITY THAT NEED TO BE DEBUNKED STAT
So now that you’re on board with the general concept of creativity as mindfulness, let’s talk about some of the myths around creativity.
MYTH #1: I’m not creative enough.
Creativity isn’t something that needs to be taught.
Sure. You can improve some skills over time.
But the act of creating is inherent to every human being.
Just think back to your childhood.
As soon as someone taught you how to hold a crayon, you got it.
You drew on paper.
You drew on the walls.
When a marker was available, you drew on yourself.
You were CREATING.
MYTH #2: I don’t have enough time for creativity.
Look. I’m not asking you to sculpt Michaelangelo.
I know you don’t have that kind of time.
But instead, consider how long it takes you to feel less anxious once you put the pen to paper.
And that’s all the time you need to start benefiting from creativity + mindfulness…
And the benefits of practicing mindfulness occur with a sustained practice of just 5-10 minutes a day.
MYTH #3: I need all the art supplies.
Nah. Not true.
You might have a preference for watercolor or chalk pastels, sure.
But in order to experience the benefits of creative practice, you just need a way to make marks and a thing to make marks on.
MYTH #4: It needs to be good.
This is the biggest myth about art of all time.
Your art doesn’t need to be good for you to experience the benefits we discussed earlier.
It just has to be accessible for you to be capable of helping you reduce anxiety.
And when it comes to using creativity to reduce anxiety, wherever your creative skills are on the skills-spectrum is good enough.
ART AS A MOTIVATIONAL AND EMOTIONAL-PROCESSING TOOL
If you’re a creative person, then art can be a powerful motivational and emotional-processing tool.
Simply put, creative people tend to perform better when they put their creativity to use.
So whether it’s illustrating a future goal or simply using color to represent the feelings you will experience once you achieve your goal – using art to motivate yourself as a creative person means that you’ll perform better.
And, in terms of emotional processing, using art throughout your health and wellness journey can help alleviate the unpleasant emotions that may come up.
By giving you a medium for expression – one that does not always require words.
And when you experience anxiety, the ability to express yourself intuitively and without language, often provides a huge sense of relief.
So, what are my favorite simple art-based exercises for reducing anxiety?
- Slow drawing: Simply place the pen on the page and let it flow. There is no expectation of creating a beautiful drawing. Rather, the intention is to help you move into flow state and relax. Once your lines begin to overlap, you can add patterns, colors, or funny faces to complete your project.
- Rohrshack/Inkblot art: Pick 3 to 4 colors that represent calmness, groundedness, safety, etc and place them in random blobs on one side of a book page (or folded piece of paper). Close the book, smooth the page, and then open to reveal a spectacular piece of artwork.
- Mandala coloring: Similar to the exercise above, I suggest choosing colors that help you move out of anxiety. Simply color in your mandala while you meditate on mindfulness journal questions.
If you would like to get started with a FREE mandala coloring book complete with journal questions around your health and wellness goals, then check out Healthy. Happy. Creative. A Contemplative Coloring Book.