Health & Wellbeing

Curative Art

Leanne Elliott explores art therapy and how it can help you cope with your studies.

I don’t think there is one student I know who doesn’t get stressed. Whether it is over their studies, family, friends or work…stress always seems to be lingering in the background waiting to pounce. Stress will often bring its friend, anxiety, around which is often followed by depression.

“Art therapy is founded on the belief that self-expression through artistic creation has therapeutic value for those who are healing or seeking deeper understanding of themselves and their personalities.” – Psychology Today 

One way to cope with all of the external pressure that comes with venturing into full-fledged adulthood is art. For me, art is a kind of therapy. It helps me to focus on the now and put aside the outside world, even if just for a moment. Art therapy has been around since the mid-20th century and is proponents’ credit this form of creative therapy with a multitude of benefits for people experiencing emotional, mental, or physical conditions. 

So, what a better way to deal with the life of a uni student than to set some time aside in your schedule to let your inner creative self out of the box and help you manage your situation. 

10 Ideas To Get You Started

Paint or Draw with Calming Colours – I find using a very small or large canvas or sheet of paper great for this exercise. The smaller size is great for focusing and the larger size is ideal for just letting your emotions run wild. 

Image by Leanne Elliott, Staff Writer

Bright Wool Tree Hangers – Get some brightly coloured wool and 2 sticks (around 5-10cm). Make the sticks into an X shape, tying one end of the wool in the centre of the X. Work your way around the X by looping the wool around each stick as you go. 

Design Your Own T-shirt – Find an old plain shirt, cardboard or thick paper and some sharpies. Now draw a design, patter, or even a bunch of words to describe how your feeling or how you want to feel. 

Beading – Buy some bright beads, crystals, and string or tiger wire. Now get busy creating. Try making some jewellery, tree hangers, or key rings. Or why not get an old bag or t-shirt and see how you go at redesigning your old stuff with a new look.

Image by Leanne Elliott, Staff Writer

Create a Balancing Rock Formation – If you don’t have any rocks handy, you might need to head to the closest beach or park where you know there are some rocks. Making these rock formations on the beach or outdoors can add to your relaxation.

There is also a ton of ideas online on things to do when you need a bit of downtime. For starters: 

10 Unique Art Prompts for Casual & Therapeutic Art Groups 

100 Art Therapy Exercises to Make Your Mind, Body and Spirit Sing.  

20 Art Therapy Activities You Can Try at Home to Destress 

Feature Image by Tania Chilby, The Brave Artist, used with permission.

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