Creating art activates our pleasure center in our brain releasing dopamine causing an individual to relax, smile and take a deep breath. But maybe you find doing art stressful because you are not good at it. I think that most people believe that they are bad at art due to when they were younger, adults told them they were bad at it. But I digress..
But lets go back to you childhood. You loved to color didn’t you? Want to know why? When there is a pre-drawn image it allows a person to relax and just find colors. The lines provide containment and a sense of safety relieving anxiety and bad feelings. Frequently when I work with clients and they have bad anxiety I suggest that they purchase a coloring book and art supplies. If I am working with someone that is having difficulty re-regulating themselves after feeling triggered or anxious I will have them color in a madala.
In general art making allows for the externalization of whatever feeling state that person is having. Externalization allows people to let go of what they are feeling in a healthy way instead of internalizing experiences, feelings and emotions. When a person internalizes their experience it can cause physical and mental health problems.
Expression in all forms promotes confidence by showing the creator that they are capable of making decisions and actualizing something. Art taps into a subconscious level of thinking, which can bring awareness and understanding to the person who is creating the artwork. The previously explained reasons are why I practice art therapy, by helping clients tap into insights that they would not normally have if they did not participate in the creative process.
So as adults we need to still express ourselves and nurture our inner child by playing and having fun. This therapist is going to recommend that you be a little kid for a few minutes today by coloring in a page of a coloring book. I hope it will bring a smile to your face and relieve a bit of the stress that you have been carrying today.
image :new coloring book by Jelene
Please contact Celine Elise Alvarez if you are interested in experiencing the way that she weaves art and talk therapy together.