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How Art Therapy Can Help You Process Your Fears and Worries

So many of us want to be perfect. We struggle with mounting anxiety, and worry, focus on how others may look at or think of us. If you find it difficult to control the worry, you aren’t alone – and it sounds like anxiety might be running your life. Art Therapy is a creative tool to support you in coping with and moving through the anxiety.

Art therapy has been shown to reduce our cortisol levels which is our stress hormone. It also increases our ability to self-express and learn more about ourselves. Many people say “well I am not artistic”. It doesn’t matter, art therapy is not about the PRODUCT but instead about the PROCESS.

This process supports us in releasing emotions and feel healing. If you haven’t read it already look at my other blog outlining a little more around art therapy.

How does art therapy help anxiety?

These sessions utilize a quiet, calming, and mindful approach, to help soothe symptoms of worry, stress, and irritability. Many of us struggle with anxiety surrounding thoughts, feelings, or events that we cannot or do not want to speak about out loud. We think that some of these feelings are weird or we know they may not be true but we still feel they are. This helps us express ourselves in a safe manner with much less communication than typical talk therapy.

Helping to relieve anxiety in the following ways:

Here are just a few ways that art therapy can help with anxiety:

  • Calms the nervous system (meaning your body will feel more calm on a day to day basis)
  • Helps us express our emotions in creative forms (which can help us understand and treat ourselves more kindly)
  • Creates a distraction from ruminating thoughts
  • Allows emotional regulation and awareness (so we can face the hard situation how we want to)
  • Allows physical and emotional release of stress and built-up anxiety

This is a somatic activity, meaning that it uses both mind and body to connect, and allows awareness of the sensations in our body (pain, discomfort, changes). When we have more awareness of the early signs of anxiety, we have a better ability to ground ourselves. We can then utilize tools to decrease it before it manifests more intensely, or even into a panic attack.

Here us an example of a guided mindfulness activity we might do in session:

Handling the soft, cool clay in your palms, you start to manipulate the material, squeezing it between your fingers, molding it into various shapes and sizes, with no worry about what it will look like, only noticing your feelings and the clay. You notice your anxiety starts to melt into the clay, while you partake in a session reminiscent of childhood. The anxiety that was trapped for so long inside has released itself, creating a newfound sense of creativity and calm. Taking a deep breath, you feel less stressed than you have for days, with a comforting environment and a validating voice to accompany it.

If you want to learn more or are interested in trying art therapy reach out!

Kala Gattuso
Individual Psychotherapist
Empowerment Within LLC

Resources on Art therapy:

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