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Art therapy is a common technique that many health care professionals use for stress relief and other mental and physical ailments, both for themselves and their patients. But how, exactly, does it relieve stress?
The first key to art as stress relief is that is must be judgement free. Let go of your expectations for what you should create—this won't be artwork that goes into a museum. Think of it more as play, and allow yourself to move into a space of pure creation, without thinking about what you must accomplish.
Hand and eye movement create a brain connection with satisfaction that releases endorphins that calm and relax the body.
As a form of distracting away from the immediate stressors, concentration on a physical activity, like drawing, painting, or sculpting, helps to relieve stress almost immediately.
Any good therapist will tell you: expression is a direct way of relieving emotional or mental stress. That expressive act can be any number of things, including expressing your stress or emotion in an artistic way. This allows your brain to process the stress from a different set of receptors, and allows your mind to relax.
Living in the Now
A great way to step away from stress is to be in the moment. Creating art puts you in the immediate moment, with one single focus. It benefits stress levels in almost the exact same way as meditation.
When we engage in creative activities, we use our own intuition, taste, feelings, and goals to make each creative decision. This kind of internal work allows you to let go of external stresses, focus on yourself, and create a peaceful space where you can look inward for direction.
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