How Art Therapy Can Help Manage Stress

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Stress affects every aspect of our lives, mentally and physically, and as Dr. Pentland has pointed out in his blog post, that yes, it affects fertility.

Identifying your stressors and finding what activities, foods or routines work best for in managing your stress can have a great impact on your day-to-day emotional and physical well being.

Taking time out of your day to focus on yourself can be especially helpful, whether this be getting a massage, meditating or exercising. Another effective way to manage stress that often gets overlooked is art making.

Creative expression can facilitate a release of pent up energy and emotions the same way talking to a good friend would allow you vent your frustrations. It encourages honest self-expression and can shed light on sources of stress and how they affect us.

Most of us use the left side of our brain for everyday activities and work. The left side of the brain attends to details, verbal communication, logical thinking and planning, and analyzing. The right side of the brain represents feelings, imagination, images and pictures, and nonverbal communication.

By expressing and releasing our stress through art we are communicating with the right side of the brain, something we wouldn’t habitually do. Not only does this give the left side of your brain a much-needed rest, it can offer new perspectives on your stressors and how you manage them. Because both emotional experiences and art making are right brain activities, expressing yourself through creative work may feel more fluid and natural.

Additionally, art making and working creatively can increase our levels of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals in our brain that influence happiness and relaxation.

What if I can’t draw? I am not an artist.

Therapeutic creative expression does not require any previous art making experience or background in art. There is no right or wrong, or good or bad way to use art as a therapeutic outlet in stress management. It could begin with something a simple as a scribble!

To learn more about how art therapy can help manage stress contact Moorea at Yinstill.

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