Art Thеrapy: Hеaling and Sеlf-Exprеssion

Art therapy: Healing and self-expression through creativity

Art therapy utilises creative activities like drawing, painting and sculpting as a means to express emotionally and heal. It helps us explore and process deep feelings and promotes mental wellbeing.

Life often has moments of stress and anxiety that can be challenging to navigate because not everything can be managed on our own. Fortunately, tools as wonderful as art can help. In fact, art therapy offers a non-verbal approach to expressing emotions, allowing individuals to communicate and process feelings that words might not capture. According to a research conducted by the American Art Therapy Association, engaging in art activities can lower cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress. Studies have also shown that art therapy enhances relaxation, improves mood and reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression in many.

Indeed, art therapy provides a powerful way to heal and express ourselves, no matter our age or background. Sometimes, when words fail to help us express our inner turmoil, art steps in. It offers a space for our emotions to speak through colours and shapes. However, art therapy isn’t just about making pretty pictures; it’s a way to look inside ourselves. Creating art helps us understand our feelings and thoughts better even though it may simply look like we are having fun on paper.

To understand art therapy better, let’s explore art activities that are known to reduce stress and support our emotional wellbeing.

Mandala colouring

Colouring mandalas is, as the cool kids say, like a chill pill for the mind. Mandalas, with their intricate geometric patterns like circles and triangles, offer a calming effect when coloured. The repetitive, symmetrical designs made while colouring a mandala engage the mind, promoting mindfulness and relaxation in humans.

The focus we need while filling in the sections of a mandala with various colours allows us to immerse ourselves in the present moment, easing tension and reducing anxiety caused by external factors.

Clay sculpting

Those who work with clay can vouch for it to be a very therapeutic experience. Sculpting allows individuals to physically mould clay objects while shaping our emotions, thus providing a fantastic outlet for stress. The act of kneading, shaping and forming clay is known to be meditative for some, offering a sense of deep relaxation.

This activity enables individuals to channel their emotions just right.

Mindful doodling

Doodling when done with a mindful approach, can be used for stress relief. This activity involves creating repetitive patterns, cartoons or designs on paper, allowing the mind to wander freely without judgment for a fixed time every day or week. Mindful doodling encourages relaxation by focusing attention on the present moment, alleviating stress and promoting a sense of calmness.

Doodling can also aid in reducing anxiety, retaining information better and enhancing mental clarity.

Nature sketching

Taking a moment to sketch natural scenes like trees, flowers or landscapes can be remarkably calming. Engaging with nature through art not only enhances observational skills in people but also encourages a connection with the outdoors.

Sketching natural elements fosters a sense of tranquillity and appreciation for the beauty around us, offering a respite from our daily stresses.

Expressive painting

Wild brushstrokes, splashing of colours and finding art in it all alleviates frustrations and hard feelings. Expressive painting involves using colours, shapes and brushstrokes to convey emotions without constraints. By expressing feelings through painting, individuals can release pent-up emotions. Many of these emotions are not even fully understood by us and yet, they find a healthy way out through expressive painting.

This form of art encourages self-expression while serving as a therapeutic outlet to manage stress for many.

Collage creation

Collage-making involves assembling various materials, like magazine cutouts, photographs and fabrics to create a unified composition. This activity allows for free-form creativity, enabling individuals to explore and express themselves in a non-linear way. Collage-making promotes self-discovery, allowing for the exploration of emotions and experiences in a visually engaging manner. Words, pictures, colours all come together in a grand way to express what many people are unable to themselves.

Engaging in these art activities provides more than just a creative outlet; they offer a pathway to calmness and emotional wellbeing in our stressed lives. Experimenting with art not only reduces this everyday stress but also fosters self-awareness and a deeper connection with oneself. Incorporating these activities into our daily routines can contribute to managing stress better while nurturing our overall mental health.


What is art therapy and how does it help with stress?

Art therapy uses creative activities like drawing, painting and sculpting to help individuals express their emotions properly and alleviate stress. Engaging in art therapy promotes relaxation, reduces anxiety and improves mood.

Can art therapy benefit individuals who are not artistically skilled?

Art therapy isn’t about artistic talent; it’s about self-expression and emotional exploration. Everyone can benefit from art therapy, even if they are not artistically skilled.

How does art therapy differ from traditional talk therapy in managing stress?

Art therapy offers a non-verbal approach to expressing emotions, allowing individuals to communicate and process feelings that words might not capture.

Are there specific art activities recommended for stress relief?

Various art activities, such as mandala colouring, nature sketching, expressive painting and clay sculpting, have been found beneficial for stress relief.




Your wellbeing is a few clicks away.

Subscribe to your weekly dose of positivity, wellness, and motivation and get a free printable
Soulveda Gratitude journal