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An Out of the Box Idea for Stress Relief

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

An out of the box idea for stress relief

What is the best form of stress relief? The simple answer is there is no one size fits all solution for everyone. We all have to find what works best for us. I want to introduce you to an out-of-the-box idea for stress relief ... art.

I know it sounds weird, but hang with me for a moment.

Why Stress Management

Stress is a reality of life, but we must admit first that not all stress is bad. Constant stress is bad, but bursts of stress can be positive. Fight or flight is a result of stress. Feeling the pressure to do good on a test is stress, but your body is reacting to help you have the drive and stamina to get through it. So not all stress is bad.

According to Cleveland Clinic, “Stress is a normal human reaction that happens to everyone. In fact, the human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. When you experience changes or challenges (stressors), your body produces physical and mental responses. That’s stress.”

Your overall physical and mental health is why stress management is essential. Stress management is about regulating your stress levels by dealing with stress and challenges that life throws at you. Without stress management, it is hard to remain happy and healthy.

Left unchecked, stress can manifest in physical and emotional symptoms like depression, anxiety, aches and pains, exhaustion, high blood pressure, or weak immune systems. It’s hard to be happy and healthy when your day is consumed by stress and its symptoms.

Minorities are at higher risk of stress

An article in Healthline highlighted that some people are at higher risk of higher stress levels, such as social workers and healthcare workers, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and minorities. These four categories alone make up a large chunk of the US population.

Natural Ways to Relieve Stress

Natural ways to relieve stress
Feel Free to Download and Use This Graphic

Stress management can be achieved in a number of ways - Some natural and some requiring doctor supervision. I prefer natural methods, but I am fully aware that sometimes doctor intervention is required. In this article, I will touch on natural ways to relieve stress. Online you can find a plethora of stress relief activities, including:

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

  • Journaling

  • Exercise

  • Massage

  • Puzzles

  • Dancing

  • Hot bath or shower

  • Cooking

  • Sex

  • Cleaning

Unfortunately, most websites talking about stress relief totally miss listing my favorite way to relieve or manage my stress - art. I feel this is a big miss on their part.

A professor of neurosciences at the University of Alabama Birmingham and former president of the American Art Therapy Association, Christianne Strang, says: “Creativity in and of itself is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and connected to the world.”

Expressive Art

I know what you’re thinking - “I’m no good at art,” or “I’m not an artist.” Well, I say, “WHO CARES!” How good you are (or are not) is not the point of this exercise!

Research shows that expressive arts therapy is a natural stress relief. Creating art reduces cortisol levels regardless of if you are an artist or have no artistic ability. Experts are finding it:

  • Lowers stress

  • Allows people to have a deeper focus

  • Decreases anxiety

  • Eases serious depression

  • Opens your mind for better clarity and decision making

There are people with art therapy degrees for those with severe depression, anxiety, or stress, but for those not suffering from severe disorders, we can use art on our own to release stress.

What Do You Need?

You don’t need to go out and get expensive supplies to begin using stress management techniques. I suggest starting with a pad of art paper, a brush set, and a basic paint pallet. This is a great start.

Tip: Here's a little artist tip for you skip spending money on a paint board. Instead use a paper plate, an dinner plate, or my favorite is an old plastic cutting board that I wrap in Glad Cling Wrap for easy clean up.

You can begin your stress management through art in a few ways:

  1. Find a simple painting that you like and mimic what you see. It doesn’t have to be identical. Paint your interpretation.

  2. Find a photo you like and paint your understanding of the subject matter.

  3. Try something abstract, laying one color over the next until you are satisfied with the result.

I hope you find inspiration in my writings. Now, go out, create something uniquely you, and inspire others.

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If you’re like me and you’ve had creative block, I talk about the six ways to overcome creative block in this video and my blog.