Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D.
Professor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology
Remember sitting down with your paper and crayons as a child? The freedom of allowing your fingers to flow over the paper was exciting and relieves stress. As you grew older, you might have moved on to using markers or paint.
Either way, the ability to let your imagination create is a cherished childhood memory for many. Now that you’re an adult, work and personal matters probably eclipse mellowing out with art. But did you know there is a form of therapy that uses creativity and relieves stress?
Art therapy is used by millions of people to work out mental health issues and relieves stress. If you’re interested in learning more about art therapy and its benefits, continue reading.
“Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, addictions, grief, self-esteem, stress, physical ailments, and disabilities respond well to art therapy.”
What is art therapy and how it relieves stress?
Art therapy uses creative activities like coloring, collage, drawing, journaling, painting, and sculpting to help people express their emotions.
An art therapist observes and examines the artwork for the “emotional and psychological undertones,” according to Psychology Today. The hidden messages, symbols, or metaphors can lead to a breakthrough and understanding of the behavior and feelings of the person.
Who uses art therapy?
Art therapy is suitable for children, teenagers, and adults who are willing to use the techniques to uncover and work through more in-depth issues. Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, addictions, grief, self-esteem, stress, physical ailments, and disabilities respond well to art therapy. New research suggests people with dementia benefit from drawing and painting, and it might aid in the prevention of the disease, according to Harvard Medical School.
But dementia patients aren’t the only people who see improvement through art. Art therapy gets practiced with individuals, groups, or couples in counseling, wellness centers, corrections facilities, senior centers, or private companies. But don’t think you need to leave your home to enjoy the benefits of art therapy.
Nowadays, it’s simple to buy a coloring book or journal and spend some quality time with yourself. While it’s better to work with a psychotherapist or art therapist to gain the most out of making art, you can work on a project in the comfort of your home too.
How art therapy relieves stress
A published study by Kaimal, Ray & Muniz, 2016 focused on the advantages of art therapy. During the process of making art for 45 minutes, adults experienced a drop in cortisol levels. Cortisol is known as the “stress” hormone, which is how stress gets measured in the body. The fight or flight reaction people sense during moments of dangerous situations happens when cortisol levels increase, according to Psychology Today.
The study used adults ages 18 to 59 years of age, creating art with collage materials, clay and felt marking pens. Their saliva got tested for cortisol levels before and after the art activity concluded. Pre and post questionnaires were completed too.
Seventy-five percent of the participants showed a significant reduction in cortisol levels because of making art. Some people’s cortisol stayed the same or increased. The appearance of the artwork doesn’t impact whether a session is successful. The process of making art is essential because it allows the person to relax and get lost in the moment.
How does art therapy work?
Art therapy is based on the belief that creative self-expression has therapeutic value. Art therapists receive training to “understand the color, texture, and art media” within the therapeutic process.
They learn to identify how they reveal a person’s thoughts, emotions, and psychological issues. Psychotherapy gets used with the art activities to offer a well-rounded view of the person’s problems and opens the door for changes to occur.
People get intimidated when asked to craft a painting, especially if they never received training. In the world of art therapy, enjoying yourself is crucial. Thus, the way to increase your fun, but decrease your worries is simple.
Use paint by numbers. Paint by numbers is a picture on canvas with each section of the picture given a number to denote which color paint goes in the area. If the painter follows the numbers, they create a lovely painting. People can purchase paint by numbers kits that come with the canvas, paint, cup, and paintbrushes.
How can I get started?
Finding and buying the right paint by numbers kit is easy. Yes, many companies produce paint by numbers kits, but we are unique. Ledgebay paint by numbers kits come with everything you need to begin your masterpiece.
Our kits come with a rolled canvas, so you don’t need to worry about wrinkles or creases before painting: quality paint and paintbrushes, hanging supplies, and a reference sheet. Browse our online shop to select your paint by numbers kit.
Give it a try
Now that you understand painting relieves many issues, but especially stress, isn’t it time you gave paint by numbers a try? If you enjoyed painting as a child or teen, chances are the love for it is still within you.
If you want to learn more about our company and what we do, please check out our website.
“Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay”