Growing up, we all experienced creating different works of art using crayons, paint, oil pastel, and even popsicle sticks. We spent countless hours of our childhood drawing and coloring both at school and at home. So many afternoons were spent indoors trying to draw our favorite cartoon characters. While some continued creating art into their adulthood and even made a career out of it, most of us stopped creating these works of art at some point.
The reason behind this is because as we get older, we become more critical of our work. We used to care so little about coloring outside the lines or using the right colors when we were children. We weren’t afraid to make mistakes. However, everything changed when we grew up. As adults, we started focusing more on the product of our creative work rather than the process of creating it. And the fear of not being able to create a beautiful output was enough reason for us to stop creating altogether.
What most of us don’t know is that in giving up on these creative outlets, we also lose a healthy way of getting in touch with our own feelings.
What is art therapy?
Art therapy is a kind of therapy that uses art forms to encourage patients to explore their emotions and deal with their traumas. Studies suggest that art therapy can be a helpful tool in dealing with depression, stress, and anxiety. As adults, we go through a lot of stressful situations involving work, family, relationships, and money. And in order to survive these trying times, we need a way to deal with our emotions and learn not to bottle it all up inside. Through art therapy, people get to relax, communicate and heal by creating.
The goal of art therapy is not to create a wonderful masterpiece. As long as your art depicts your state of feeling, it does not matter if it’s messy or unpleasant to the eyes. This therapy is about the process of working through your problems using your choice of art form.
While there are licensed art therapists that you can go to if you want to improve your mental health through creating, you can also enjoy the mental benefits of art on your own. It doesn’t matter if you have professional experience with art or haven’t picked up a paintbrush since you were seven. Simply giving adult coloring books a try, starting a journal, or exploring film photography can reduce stress, help you stay calm and process complex feelings.
From your thoughts, ideas, fears, and stress, you can communicate all these through art. This is especially helpful for people with trauma who tend to block out painful memories. Diving into art can help in slowly communicating and addressing these traumatic events.
You may not think that you are any good at art and creating one is not worth your time, but art can be a valuable pastime for you, whether you are artistically-inclined or not. If you’re the kind of person who has trouble opening up and talking about your feelings, creating works of art can help you manage your unresolved feelings.
When was the last time you drew something or painted a picture? If your answer is long ago, maybe the solution to your current problems as an adult is getting in touch with your inner child again.