Verified on 07/11/2022 by PasseportSanté
Stress is a normal reaction of the organism subjected to aggression as a result of a situation such as a job interview, an exam, an important meeting, a first date, etc. Our body then reacts in different ways: stomach ache, diarrhea, nausea, etc.
To relax and let go of stress, there are many solutions. Among them, various creative activities allow you to focus on something other than the object of your stress, to take time for yourself and to occupy both your hands and your mind.
What do creative activities generally bring?
Creative activities provide many benefits for the body and mind. They allow, in fact, to:
- fight against stress;
- relax ;
- take time for yourself;
- relax ;
- clear your mind of negative thoughts;
- regulate their emotions, understand them and transform them.
Whatever the creative activity chosen, among the many possibilities – painting, drawing, sculpture, modelling, collage, photography, writing, puppets, video, dance, theater, music, singing, clowning, mask, poetry, reading, circus, cinema etc – the objective is, through its artistic production and the momentum set up on this occasion, to:
- to get involved;
- to choose ;
- to mobilize physically and mentally.
What are the benefits of creative activities in the face of stress?
Creative activities are not intended to train artists. No prior artistic skill or talent is required. They are aimed at people of all ages.
Researchers at Drexel University have shown that practicing creative activity can lower the level of cortisol, the hormone responsible for anxiety. Painting, drawing, collage and pottery appear as the most relaxing activities. The study also showed that 45 minutes is enough to start feeling a positive effect.
Practicing a creative activity makes it possible in particular to:
- turning away from parasitic and negative thoughts by concentrating on one’s activity;
- see things with a new perspective.
Art has several stress-reducing virtues:
- distraction: the person concerned is no longer absorbed by his problems;
- artistic trance: engaging in an artistic process allows you to obtain an almost meditative state whose benefits are close to those of yoga;
- personal balance: by forcing yourself to take time for yourself, you also take care of your mental and physical health.
Some artistic techniques are simple to practice and require little material. Here are some examples.
Long reserved for children, coloring books for adults made their appearance a few years ago. This success can be explained by the fact that coloring is affordable and easy to access, and that it does not require special technical skills. Many clues about the internal life of the individual can emerge following coloring:
- the colors used;
- line type;
It is an activity that allows you to:
- promote concentration;
- release tension;
- get rid of negative thoughts;
- let go ;
- no longer think of anything;
- put his emotions in order.
This is why it is deeply anti-stress. Some specialists even believe that the effects of coloring, especially complex and repetitive patterns such as mandalas, could be similar to those of meditation.
More and more often offered in retirement homes or hospitals, watercolor painting is one of the activities allowing you to let go. Accessible, it allows even beginners to obtain good results. As creative and playful as it is soothing, watercolor painting helps to fight against stress by letting oneself be guided by one’s desires by drawing abstract shapes or landscapes.
The tracing of mandalas is a discipline drawn from Buddhist philosophy and designed to lead to meditation. It involves drawing more or less complex diagrams, some of which in several dimensions are veritable works of art. Symbolically, they represent the relationship of humans to the cosmos. Used as a tool for well-being, mandalas allow you to calm down and refocus to reach a meditative state.
Knit or crochet
Knitting or crocheting turns out to be a stress-busting activity. Having both hands occupied:
- helps to relax and disconnect;
- helps relieve stress;
- allows you to focus your mind and your concentration on a slow task, which requires some attention.
Once you have acquired a certain dexterity, the technical gesture is automated. Repetition and focus on the movement then allow you to immerse yourself in a meditative state, similar to yoga.
Gardening is one of the activities that help the most against stress. Whether in a garden or on a balcony, taking care of your plants, making a mini-vegetable garden or creating terrariums can soothe the mind. Doctors even speak of horticultural therapy, which is increasingly offered in retirement homes and hospitals. This activity stimulates all the senses:
- to touch ;
- seen ;
Gardening fulfills, rests and provides a sense of pride and self-confidence.
Bonding is also a very effective anti-stress activity. By the multiplicity of shapes, colors, textures that he leads to manipulate, this discipline opens up the field of possibilities. The more one creates, the more one is inspired, the more harmony settles. It’s a virtuous circle that allows you to relax and forget the reasons for your stress by cutting, pasting, adjusting, etc.
Accessible to all ages and whatever their physical condition, pottery allows them to awaken their creative sense while relaxing. This discipline stimulates the different senses, especially touch. Mixing the earth, seeing the potter’s wheel in action, so many simple gestures that release emotions and satisfy the senses.
The meeting between Zen and the tangle, or “scribbling” in French, was born from the discovery of the de-stressing power of these small drawings by two Americans, Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. The zentangle is nothing but a small abstract square design made up of repetitive patterns. All it takes is a simple pencil and a piece of paper that you can use anywhere, such as on public transport or in your doctor’s waiting room. Thanks to the repetitive and mechanical movement of the pencil, the mind is free to wander and relax.
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