Making any sort of art might not sound like it can relieve your stress. In fact, for those of us who don’t have an artistic bone in our bodies, it can actually seem a bit stressful. But there’s benefit to breaking through that light discomfort — it can actually improve mood and happiness if you stick with it.
Think about it: you need to be inspired, be able to concentrate, and somehow find your artistic voice. All of these things can demand a lot of effort and attention, especially if you tend towards perfectionism in the first place.
Set all of that aside the next time you make art. Rather than aiming for a perfect result, just enjoy the process. Your new art journal will help you to express the creative side of yourself. And that can actually ease your mind.
There are many forms of art that necessitate the use of skills like logic and creativity. An easy example of this would be making sure that you color inside the lines while mixing and matching a variety of colors until you are satisfied with the result. Combining precise motor skills and vision forces you to focus on the task at hand, allowing you to let go of everyday frustrations. It is essentially distraction, but much more positive than, say, having a glass of wine or a cigarette.
It is this very thing that relieves stress.
If you are concentrating solely on the task at hand — be it drawing, painting, or even writing — you’re letting go of those stressful thoughts. You’ll feel lighter, less anxious, and hopefully, more cheerful, too.
Stress is a focus-killer, whether it comes from home life, work, or school. Clearing out that stress with an art journal? That’s a fantastic way to get your focus back.
Once you clear your mind of everything that’s stressing you out, you will find it easier to focus on everyday tasks.
This is especially true if you write all of your thoughts down in your art journal next to your drawings. Don’t worry about it making sense; just let the thoughts flow out onto the paper. Come back to them later and reflect on them when you’ve gained a bit of space from the issue.
Simply placing those negative (and positive) thoughts on paper is enough to help some people clear their mind. Knowing the thoughts can be compartmentalized there will empower you to focus on what’s important to you instead.
You don’t have to be an artist or writer to make this work for you. Grab a coloring book, write down the jumbled thoughts in your head, finger paint, or do a bit of origami if you can (or even if you can’t — you can always learn). Or, grab some modeling clay and make a stick man. Anything creative helps you with your focus and stress. Imagination: engage!