Relieving stress through art is not as commonly known or used as yoga or exercise or other popular techniques. Yet, it is one of the most effective, bringing with it a soothing feeling and calming you after a hectic and frazzled day. And it’s easy, too, because it’s the art we all learned in childhood. Remember those coloring books and crayons, paints and canvas, the animals you formed using Play-doh, the sketches you made in grade school? Go back to a toy or school supplies store, get these art stuff and see how immersing yourself in these activities can help you get rid of adult stress and other negative emotions you are feeling.
Art therapy takes your mind off whatever’s bothering you at the moment, even if only temporarily, by keeping you focused in the process, so that you see a difficulty from another perspective, or you are simply rejuvenated and ready to face the world’s challenges again.
Here are easy art forms you can take up without having to take formal classes. You may or may not aim for great results. What matters is, you’ll have fun doing them and you come away with a more positive outlook and less stress and anxiety.
Fight Adult Stress With These 5 Forms of Kiddy Art
Adult coloring books are now on the shelves of bookstores and arts and craft shops. They come with pre-printed designs that can be flowers, nature or abstracts. With a set of coloring pens, this art form is practically risk-free and cheap. Coloring mandalas, a symbol in Indian religion, promote centering and has a tranquilizing effect on a stressed person.
Sketching and Drawing
Drawing is used interchangeably with sketching. You’ll need a sketchbook (preferably, instead of loose papers,) drawing pencils, erasers and a sharpener. Graphite pencils are the most basic and essential media, or you can use charcoal pencil or ink.
Draw from your mind or from an image, real or on paper or screen. Begin with a sweeping motion of the hand, wrist and arm until you get comfortable doing it. If you are drawing a face, for example, start with an oval at the top center, and draw all the way around until you get back to the beginning. Press the pencil lightly during the first attempts and go harder when you get the feel of the pencil.
Kneading, rolling, stretching and mashing clay, then forming it into objects, has a releasing effect on a stressed individual. The soft clay in your hands, whether it’s play dough, modeling clay or silly putty, can be made into many different things. Clay is available in many colors, so there is no limit to the imagination on what can be made out of this resilient material. Sculpting clay is an outlet for anger, anxiety and tension. And it is easily available at any toy or arts and craft store.
Sand Art Bottles
Although sand art bottles date back to the 1800s, they became popular again in the 1990s, with children making them in art class. These artworks are empty bottles in any shape filled with layers or colored sand and other objects, as desired. It could be pebbles, buttons, small plants or any object that can fit in the bottle. You will need a funnel for controlled pouring of the sand into the bottle in layers, a lid and a glue gun for sealing the lid and avoiding spilling accidents.
The finicky process of making a design and pouring sand requires concentration, which in turn, takes the focus away from the stress.
Cross stitching is a form of sewing where the stitches are shaped as x’s or crosses that form a design and are executed on an Aida even-weave fabric. Cross stitched fabric can be made into throw pillowcases, book covers, aprons, small pieces of art, wall decors and anything one can think of. All you need is fabric, different colors of threads, needles and a design. Cross stitch kits can be bought at craft stores online or in a mall. The sewing process has a calming effect and it is a therapeutic way to release adverse emotions.