Drawing, colouring and painting might seem like nostalgic memories from the past –activities that you enjoyed when you were a child. However, if you look closely in today’s bookstores, there’s a whole new section dedicated to adult colouring books that have come up in the self-help section. Yes, you heard that right: Colouring with sketches, crayons and color pencils is no longer just a children’s activity. These activities have become increasingly popular among adults who want to tune out from the humdrum of everyday life and reduce stress. Focusing one’s mind on intricate patterns and drawings is said to have immense therapeutic benefits, and is a great way to express oneself. So break away from the social expectation that colouring is only for kids, and see how liberating it is to let your creativity flow.
Studies conducted on art therapy have found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol went down in subjects who painted, made collages, or played with clay for an hour a day. Art serves two purposes: It helps us express things that we don’t often have words for but feel deeply, and second, it helps us communicate to others this inner state that very much exists within all of us. And communicating one’s innermost feelings and being in touch with that side of you is one of the most liberating and enriching feelings that come with self-love and self-care.
What exactly is art therapy?
It is a form of therapy that uses a person’s creative and expressive side to improve physical, mental and emotional well-being. Unlike regular therapy, that uses words to express oneself to be able to deal with one’s innermost emotions, art therapy uses drawings and paintings.
The creative process involved in expressing oneself artistically is said to have phenomenal mental and emotional benefits. It helps people resolve pent up issues along with managing their behaviors, reducing stress, and improving overall self-esteem and awareness.
Art therapy does not fit into one typical mould and can be used in a variety of ways to achieve different things for different people. It can be used for counselling by therapists, healing, rehabilitation and psychotherapy. It can be tailored according to one’s requirement. Broadly speaking, it is beneficial as it helps one connect with the inner self.
Art therapy uses materials like paints, chalk and markers. It combines traditional methods of psychotherapy, along with the psychological benefits of being creative that help bring down cortisol levels, thereby alleviating stress.
Benefits of art therapy
Art therapy involves the creation of art in order to increase awareness of self and others. The benefits are increased personal development, enhanced coping skills, and superior cognitive function.
How does it help?
The primary goal of therapy is to become the best version of you by talking about your innermost feelings and thoughts. Similarly, art therapy is also used to improve one’s emotional state or mental well-being. It also helps in relieving stress, and can help in self-discovery. The creative outlet this mode of therapy offers an individual is phenomenal, since the creative process can be very rewarding.
One of the best examples of art therapy that many women unknowingly do in their daily lives is when they are applying make-up. Lots of women and make-up artists find the whole process extremely therapeutic; the transformative quality of the activity can be very relaxing, and seeing the final result of a gorgeously made up face gives them immense satisfaction. - Suneela