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What is Art Therapy? and can it Help Panic and Anxiety?

Art has numerous therapeutic benefits, one of which includes relieving panic and anxiety. This post explores how Art therapy provides an effective way to express yourself and seek professional help.

How Does Art Help with Anxiety?

In this post we are going to explore 6 Ways Art Therapy Helps Panic and Anxiety. Art has numerous therapeutic benefits, including relieving panic and anxiety. By creating art, it can be very beneficial to your overall mental health.

According to the UK National Statistics Office, the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on society reveals a number of trends. For example, women have reported higher levels of anxiety, depression and loneliness than men. The data shows that 86% of women and 74% of men reported feeling lonely at the end of January 2021.

Art therapy for anxiety, provides an effective way to express yourself and seek professional help. It enables you to confront your fears, disorders, mental illnesses, emotions, feelings, and more through creative self-expression.

The case for panic attacks and anxiety is that it is often hard to describe it. Without the right words to express the feeling or sensation, it is often difficult to get to the problem’s roots. However, with art therapy, the form of expression isn’t solely reliant on words alone – which makes it easier to express your innermost thoughts.

What is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy; it is a process by which people can gain a clearer understanding of themselves by exploring thoughts and feelings through the use of art materials. Images can be used to express concerns and emotions that are not quite clear enough to be dealt with in words alone.

“I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way, things I had no words for.”

Georgia O'Keeffe

The first step towards self-care revolves around engaging yourself in creative endeavours, as it helps exert energy in a favourable way. To really enable art therapy to provide substantial treatment requires seeking help from a professional art therapist.

A qualified art therapist can make the healing process effective and treatment-oriented and help you achieve your long-term goal. Qualified art therapists offer their services in various settings and at different facilities, which makes it incredibly effective to start your journey on the road of recovery.

How Art Therapy Works to Heal Panic Attacks & Anxiety

The therapeutic aspect of art offers many benefits to all of us. It creates an environment that helps improve self-esteem, self-awareness, social skills, emotional resilience and reduces conflicts and is especially beneficial for those who are suffering from mental illnesses such as panic attacks, stress, and anxiety. Art therapy provides an outlet to get effective treatment, calm one’s nerves, and seek calm in calamity.

Here are 6 Ways Art Therapy helps Panic and Anxiety

1. Art Therapy Calms the Nervous System

Art therapy itself is a very calm and quiet expression that does not require much talking or communicating verbally. It can often be seen as meditative, which helps in soothing stress, irritability, anxiety, and nervousness.

Since art therapy opens up a window to effectively express what one feels, it relieves the creator’s pressure to communicate everything in one setting. Meaning, you can express yourself through symbolism, colours, strokes, and whichever way you see fit and calm your nerves.

2. Encourages Distraction and Interrupts Rumination

Panic attacks, more often than not, cause a state of disruption which requires immediate attention. Finding your peace in a state of panic is something art therapy helps to achieve. By helping to shift focus on to the canvas, you can focus more on what needs to be communicated in an artistic way.

It disrupts the troublesome thoughts and helps you focus the energy towards art. Creating art also helps distract the mind from the normal and enables you to inch closer towards what you see, rather than what others see.

3. Encourages Self-Expression

Anxiety stems from within, and the state of panic and anxiety attacks that follow are triggered by surrounding thoughts, events, memories, feelings, and more. Usually, these thoughts or incidents are not easy to talk about without triggering the anxiety or panic attack once again. 

Art therapy takes on a safer approach to handle the matter and encourages self-expression in a controlled and relaxed environment. Your art therapist can guide you on how to express your feelings effectively, deal with them, and learn from the experience in a constructive manner.

4. Provides Tactile Stimulation

Art therapy helps expression through tactical stimulation; it enables you to experience art more realistically. Tactile stimulation is all about experiencing the details of the canvas and the art you created based on direct touch and other touch sensations, such as experience the body of textures of the surface, the temperature of the artwork, and numerous further details.

Art therapy helps in engaging the mind and body towards creating something that helps with expression.

5. Increases Self-Awareness

One of the primary reasons Art therapy is considered very popular in recent practices is it is focused on self-expression, self-awareness, and self-development. By engaging yourself in a creative pursuit, you can discover a new aspect of yourself that you most likely did not know of before.

Creating art helps in putting things into perspective, and helps in clarifying any bottlenecks. It also showcases individual characteristics which help you explore yourself, manage your anxiety, and tackle stress more effectively.

6. Goes Beyond the Limit of Verbal Expressions

With Art therapy, you no longer need to rely on the typical forms of expression but rather let your artwork express itself. Since it does not limit you to certain forms of expression, you can paint your feelings, emotions, or triggers with little to no hesitation.

Art therapy enables you to express traumatic experience without having to review the memory again. A qualified art therapist can help in deciphering your artwork, and give your perspective on what your art reflects. In return, you can better know yourself and manage your anxiety and panic triggers effectively.

"you’ve created something that’s yours, you’ve got ownership of it – it’s something that belongs to you and you’ve got that sense of pride"

Dr. Audrey Tang - Chartered Psychologist

Use Art Therapy to Develop Coping Strategies
If you or your loved ones are facing mental illness issues, treatment alongside art therapy, will prove to be more beneficial in tackling the disorders and help develop coping strategies. There are numerous types of mental illnesses which can be treated with the help of art therapy. These include panic attacks, stress, anxiety and other subtypes such as:

  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Substance/Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder
  • Specific Phobia
  • Selective Mutism

Including Art Therapy in Your Treatment Plan

If you are suffering from anxiety or your loved ones are having similar problems, reaching out for professional help is the way to go. Including art therapy in your treatment plan will improve the quality of treatment. It will help you, and your loved ones, to deal with and reduce panic and anxiety triggers more effectively.

Art that Introduces a New Perspective – Sea Foam

To truly benefit from the deep reaching impact of art, invest in art that has a calming effect on you and your surroundings. Sea Foam demonstrates a vivid combination of versatile colour that are enough to make you feel the ocean breeze from the comfort of your room. It plays to the psychology of art and creates a calm and serene atmosphere for you to relax and rejuvenate in, as well as get your thoughts decluttered. 

The fine colours and sorted out strokes will be the centre of attention in your living space. All while giving you that centred and composed sense of being that will make you experience creativity, a new perception, a sense of connectivity along with a lot more.

As a part of a long-term comprehensive treatment plan, art therapy can open many doors to provide a full range of treatment that is drawn out specifically for you. Seeking and exploring expert help is the first step towards faster recovery, and when the treatment plan involves art – the equation becomes far more rewarding.

Sea Foam

Feel the ocean breeze from the comfort of your room.

DISCLAIMER. The information provided in this article is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. This content is not meant to be used, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any medical condition. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical problem, consult your own doctor.

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Post Illustration: Georgia O’Keeffe and ‘Black Place III’, 1944 – (Photo by George F. Mobley 1980).

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