ArtCredit: bhjoco

Art therapy[1] is a relatively new branch of psychotherapy today but the term ‘art therapy’ has been around since 1942. It was first coined by Adrian Hill[2] who was an artist himself and also fought in World War One. The basic premise of this form of therapy is to use art and creativity to help people who are in need of therapy. It could be the case that perhaps more conventional methods of therapy have not been suitable for someone or yielded much in the way of results or progress. Therefore, artistically looking at the situation is a new and exciting avenue for such patients to explore further and to develop their confidence.

However, art and painting can actually promote therapeutic results in the general population too, regardless of the need for therapy or not. It is a wonderful tool to discover art if you suffer from stress, anxiety or even panic attacks. From going through grief or trauma, art therapy could work for you and is therefore worth investigating and researching further online. It could be a great way to improve your overall level of mental wellness too.

I have always found that DIY involving painting and decorating can be very therapeutic, and it can certainly be a form of escapism from everyday life. I have more recently started using the fantastic and beautiful coloring book below by Johanna Basford. It is a wonderful feeling to show your family and friends the images you have created, and the level of detail required in this specific coloring book is extreme. However, there are also many different types of adult art therapy coloring books on the market in this particular series, and I have even seen them produced in a postcard form to color in too.

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book
Amazon Price: $15.95 $10.15 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 28, 2015)

I hope that the benefits of art as a therapeutic treatment which I mention below will encourage you to try out art therapy for yourself. Even if you only suffer with mild stress or anxiety, I hope that this could be useful for you. Perhaps you may already enjoy other creative pursuits and want to explore this option further. From young children to the elderly, art therapy is readily accessible for everyone to try out.

On a summer afternoon at the weekend when you are enjoying the sunshine, you could sit outside and relax with one of these coloring books. It will leave you feeling calmer and more relaxed. As well as this, just for a moment in time you could forget all about your worries and concerns.

ColorsCredit: ARTG33K74











1. A Tool For Self-Exploration

Art is one of the ways in which you can express yourself, your individuality and ideas. It is through the use of colors, different textures, concepts and ideas that art can really come to life. You could also express your personality in drawing and painting in a way that is different to how you would express yourself verbally with words. This is one of the amazing ways that art can transcend languages and cultures in a manner that music and other creative arts can too.

If you are struggling with emotional issues, then putting them down on paper in this direct way and without using words could really reveal different facets of the emotions you are experiencing to yourself and to others, including your therapist if you have one.

ArtCredit: Alvimann










2. Finding A Physical Center

Art is a calming physical process because in most cases you will need to sit still to complete it! If you have fidgety children or a stressed and anxious elderly parent then offering them art and various coloring tools, paints or pens to turn to in their own time, could help to center them more physically.

Improving your breathing and lowering blood pressure levels, the full affects of art as a therapy and indeed as a healing and physical act are still being explored today. If you know someone who struggles to relax or who is always rushing about doing a million jobs and who cannot slow down, then encouraging them with this idea could help. The real reward is that there is actual art, drawings, pictures and colorful results to show for the time spent on the task.

The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People
Amazon Price: $9.95 $5.23 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 28, 2015)

So even if one does not initially see the reason behind art therapy, once they get going and produce something unique and creative, they may start to enjoy the process or even take up art as a hobby!

Paint BrushesCredit: wax115












3. Reliving Stress And Tension

For many people who lead busy and stressful lives, they can find it difficult to relax and to stop and enjoy life. As the saying goes we should all ‘learn to stop and smell the roses[4]’. It is through doing this that we can appreciate life more, value ourselves and develop a greater awareness and thankfulness for the family and friends that we have around us.

Art like music can offer a creative way to express one’s personality and feelings. It can be challenging for those who are not naturally expressive or communicative. However, art can be a way to open up these ideas and discussions more. Through trial and error and exploration, art can offer an outlet for emotions as well as for thoughts.

PaintCredit: dhester










4. Self Taught Skills

One of the great things about art therapy more generally, is that there is no wrong and right answer. You can produce work in your own time and to your own standards. It is a very personal expression of one’s own mind, thoughts and feelings. There is no pressure in art to conform to a certain ideal or ideology[5]. In this process, you could develop new skills and ways of using colors on paper. This affinity to communicate more effectively could then radiate into other areas of your life such as your career and family life too as a bonus.

If you have never tried art therapy as an adult before, then I would highly recommend exploring it further and discovering both the mental and physical benefits that it could provide for you today.