How Using Your Hands Creatively Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Posted by on January 2, 2016 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Thrive with 10 Comments

drawing art
By Faigie Kobre |

“Making something, even imperfectly is empowering because it’s an expression of the self.” ~Alton & Carrie Barron MD

Do you ever suffer from stress or anxiety?

If so, you’ve probably tried to find relief, but finding something that works for you can be quite hard. We all react differently to different remedies, and what works for one person may not be the best remedy for you.

I used to suffer from stress and anxiety a lot. After trying lots of different remedies, I finally found relief in an activity I never considered would help.

I was locked into a life dependent on templates for everything that wasn’t basic living. Without clear instructions, clear steps, and a clear understanding of the desired end, I couldn’t get myself to start a project, journey, or activity, no matter how big or small.

At every seminar or webinar, I asked a million questions. I needed to know everything in excruciating detail. The thought of missing or misunderstanding something would send me into a panic.

Just the thought of doing anything without knowing every step in advance caused me tremendous stress and anxiety. Even in something as innocuous sounding as in creating art.

I always loved art. Art materials always made me salivate, but I never made the time for it because I didn’t know what to do with those gorgeous materials.

Years ago when I was a kindergarten teacher, I used to love watching how the kids expressed themselves creatively in their art. It brought me so much joy that I eventually became an art teacher.

This got me involved in reading any and every book on art and creativity I could find.

How I First Heard of This Unlikely Cure for Anxiety and Stress

Not until I started reading voraciously about all kinds of creative art for adults and how healing it was did I discover the connection between stress, anxiety, and using your hands to create.

If I could bottle its effects, I would make a fortune.

I read a wonderful book called Painting Your Way out of a Corner about the amazing meditative effects of different types of unplanned and improvisational art.

Then I read The Creativity Cure by Alton and Carrie Barron, both doctors who talk about how healing creative hand use is, which is the act of using your hands along with your imagination to create something new.

From those books, I learned that creative hand use that focuses on process rather than result can relieve anxiety and stress. I also learned that the creative activity couldn’t rely on following a template.

Creative hand use is supposed to help you by expressing yourself. When you follow a template, you are not expressing yourself; you are expressing the person who designed the template.

When we make something, even imperfectly, especially imperfectly, we are truly expressing ourselves, which is what helps us relieve our stress and anxiety. This is why art that focuses on the process as opposed to the product is so much better.

According to the books, creative hand use, when done right, could relieve anxiety and stress in the following ways:

You gain more self-awareness.

Painting and doing art from imagination evokes thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that block us in normal day-to-day experience. It loosens up our thinking and leads to notice how we make decisions.

Do we hide from our mistakes or try to cover them up? Can we let go and be responsive to the moment or do we need stay in control? Are we scared of making a mess, looking silly, not being good enough? All of these things come into play as we create without preconceived ideas and embrace the results.

Once you have this new awareness, you can use it to make better choices and be more effective. This will help clear up your anxieties thus making you happier and less stressed.

You become more resilient.

As you create, you might find that sometimes you try something that doesn’t work out quite as you thought it would. You learn to accept this and simply continue with the process. You continue and try to make the best of what you’ve got. After a while, you’ll notice that when things in your life don’t go as planned or when you’ve made a mistake, you can more quickly recover and move on.



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  1.' Cole Marsh says:

    I can say it helps me.

  2.' Helmut Harnischmacher says:

    It’s between the Ears, Intellect, Personality, Common Sense.ect,

  3.' Reece Dwyer says:

    I rarely draw or paint but this is the only way i do it..

  4.' Melissa Graham says:

    I have been dealing with anxiety and stress for almost 10 years of my life. I can tell you that it is no walk in the park. But I can also tell you that eventually it does get better with time. You just need to find better ways to deal with it. Yoga and meditation work very well for me. I would highly recommend learning how to meditate because ever since I have started I have never been happier. I have improved my life drastically. I have an overall sense of peace with myself and the world. My stress levels have gone to an all time low and It even helps me with my anxiety and panic

    If you want to learn how to meditate I suggest you read this story.

  5.' Lesley Manley McVean says:

    I’ve just discovered the shape and odd pictures and marker sets at Costco! Very relaxing!

  6.' Pancha Shakya says:

    I draw when i am sad or happy both give me great result great art and thought away from thiught meaning stress relieve yes win win situation

  7.' Kurt Franklyn says:

    I love to draw and paint, but in my study it’s ALWAYS lack of vitamins or minerals and sometimes both… that’s where I would look first..

  8.' Lise Zaknic says:

    I knit and crochet

  9.' Chad Engelhardt says:

    As one globally FAMILY we are not only changing the world starting on an individual level (the only way) we are well manifesting a great new life for all here. We are taking back we freedom over are minds and thoughts. Victorious we are, we are the future. It is great to plan ahead, have plan one must and we do , live here and how in the the moment be mindful. Take your love and light your power only yours, build it so strong, so huge, so bright that no matter what others will have a guiding light. Help others see that it must start Within. We are all gifts and have been giving a gift so so special and grand. I for one have chosen to be all I can be this means supporting my PP family with all my love and heart blessed be. Have a great and wonderful day much love family. Warriors we are and warriors do not fall we stand tall and proud we make waves and when the boat rocks we protect each other. I have your back brothers and sisters we are all one. No skin colour, no race, FAMILY !!! ONENESSS

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