Is Art Therapy Successful?
Is Art Therapy Successful?
Does Art Therapy help anxiety? I believe art therapy does help reduce anxiety and can help relieve the nervous system. Approximately 29% of people are touched with an Anxiety disorder. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) defines generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) “as the persistent and excessive worry about things that otherwise don’t appear to have a reason for concern”. Art therapy is founded on the belief that for those who heal for those who are healing or seeking a deeper understanding of themselves and their behaviors. It isn't just coloring in a book, it can be painting, sketching, etc. Art therapy isn’t just visual arts. There is expressive arts, Visual arts is a more comfortable way for people to express their feelings or relieve their worries and anxieties.
I have my own struggles with generalized anxiety and social anxiety, and I found that using art to express my feelings in that given moment really helps me with expression. With my struggles, whenever I felt anxious I would suppress those feelings and try to hide them. I had always struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I had noticed whenever I would start a new project. I for once wasn't worried about what was gonna happen next, I felt relaxed and in the moment. After painting for months I not only saw an increase in my artistic abilities but overall, I felt more confident.
Although there is medication for anxiety disorders, people refrain from taking medication and look for other ways to manage. It is used in hospitals, senior settings, and more. This form of therapy has shown ways to improve their mental health rather than just anxiety.
I know I gave a few benefits of art therapy above, but I would like to give you a few more perks of using AT. Art therapy can help improve social skills, help sensorimotor functions, raise self-esteem, and it cultivates resilience. Art therapy isn’t just for anxiety it has been shown to be effective for many other mental health disorders.
Art Therapy doesn’t work for everybody. Trying different coping skills can be difficult and quickly you can realize that it isn't working and could be bringing you more anxiety and stress. I noticed when I painted and it wasn’t as perfect as I wanted it to be and I would get annoyed and stressed. Sometimes trying to paint and relax while i’m in a bad headspace my linework isn’t as precise. Taking a deep breath and regrouping your thoughts can improve a better Don't worry, keep trying different methods or trying the same method just a little differently. Sooner or later you will find something that will accommodate and help you just have to keep searching. Once you find something to help manage your anxieties, overtime you could feel your anxieties slowly simmer away.
How Can You Start Using Art Therapy?
You decide you’d like to try art therapy for anxiety. Starting to use AT does not have specific rules, a right or wrong way. If you don't have the materials, you can use a simple pencil and paper. Art has no definition, art is about emotional power and emotional expression. During the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began to notice that I was very nervous all the time and “on edge” which was new for me. Since we were stuck in the house all day everyday, I started to spend all day everyday painting. Don’t feel discouraged from the idea because you feel like you have little artistic ability. I didn’t really have much artistic ability when I started. Free drawing/painting really helps taking exactly from how I'm feeling to the paper/canvas. Over time I learned that it isn't about how well you can draw and paint, It is about the complete opposite.
It is about the act of doing the activity, feeling your emotions, and handling your anxieties and concerns. Using any kind of simple and small crafts can even be a form of Art Therapy. Things to get your brain thinking and feeling, in a way you're comfortable with.
If you feel comfortable around a group of friends, you can invite them to even join you. I personally feel secure and safe painting with my friends. Giggles and music coming from the room is definitely a wholesome feeling. Whenever my friends and I have a bad day, we always get together and paint. My best friend, Trinity and I can zone out into our own world for hours just painting or sometimes we express how we are feeling. Personally, I think playing music in the background is a must. Trinity and I are different artists but we can always agree that art therapy is helpful and rewarding. AT could be even more beneficial if you are surrounded by a group of people who do not judge you. Playing your favorite playlist. It can help being in an environment with good vibes, a place where nothing is bringing you extra stress.
If you are having trouble getting started here are 18 different crafts and activities that you can try!
Can I Use Art Therapy Daily?
The answer is Yes! If you are using Art therapy outside of therapy or not in any therapy, you can use AT everyday, anytime, and any place. Art therapy doesn't have to be any more or any less than you need it. Whenever you need a way to relieve your anxiety at the moment you can take 10 minutes or hour(s). When I feel anxious and I'm away I use just a random piece of paper and just draw, it does help and ground me back from overthinking so much. I do try to use it everyday, when I am consistent I feel my art has a deeper meaning and more thoughtful since I'm feeling more in touch with myself. This form of coping is flexible for you and how you are feeling. If you feel that you don't need to use paint or draw on any given day, you can always pick up where you left off another time. The ball is completely in your court!