Relieving Stress with Art Therapy


painting to relieve stress

Bita Zadeh, Photojournalist

Other than making mindless doodles in the pages of your notebook while you’re bored in class, if you’re like most teenagers, you don’t express yourself with art like you did as a kid. You may not think you’re any good at creating art, or you may not think it’s worth your time, but art is actually a valuable pastime, even for those who don’t consider themselves artistically inclined. There are many reasons that art is helpful for relieving stress even for those who don’t consider themselves to be artists.


Here are some ways that creating art can alleviate stress:

  • Drawing and art can take your mind off of what’s stressing you, if only for a few minutes. It’s difficult to dwell on your problems when your mind is in its creative mode, and if your problems stay with you, you can incorporate them into your creations. After drawing for a while, you should have a clearer head with which to face and conquer your problems again.
  • Just the act of having a hobby can make your life feel more balanced. With our busy schedules, we forget that we deserve breaks and self-care. Taking even a few minutes on a regular basis to devote to a hobby can give you more of what you need to stay stress-free. And, with drawing, there is the additional benefit of being left with something beautiful to show for it.

Art Project Ideas for Stress Relief:

  • Sketch pictures that describe your feelings related to things in your life that are causing you stress currently.
  • Sketch pictures that express feelings related to past stressful experiences as a way of processing your emotions and healing.
  • Keep a “Dream Sketch Diary”, and sketch scenes from dreams you’d like to remember or better understand.
  • Buy a coloring book. They can be especially relaxing for those who don’t feel artistic but want to create easy, beautiful, and stress-free pictures.


Throughout YLHS, many use art as a way to declutter their minds. “Art has always been my go-to way to de-stress. Painting and drawing never fail to pull me into my little world”, explained Arezu Monshizadeh (12). She went further to elucidate that the pieces she creates when she is stressed seem random, but are actually works with underlying meaning; fragments of her life captured on canvas. With art, stresses can turn into brush strokes looking at them can be like a look into past experiences, good and bad.