Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” It’s no surprise, then, that many people around the world use art as a means to deal with stress, trauma and unhappiness – or to just find greater peace and meaning in their lives. If you’re curious about what art therapy has to offer, you can try out some of these great solo exercises at home to help nurse your mind, body and soul back to health. If you like the experience, you can also seek out professional art therapy treatment in your area.
Emotions: Deal with emotions like anger and sadness through these helpful exercises.
- Draw or paint your emotions. In this exercise, you’ll focus entirely on painting what you’re feeling.
- Create an emotion wheel. Using color, this activity will have you thinking critically about your emotions.
- Make a stress painting. Choose colors that represent your stress and jab, scribble and paint your problems away.
- Put together a journal. Journals don’t have to just be based around words. You can make an art journal as well, that lets you visually express your emotions.
- Make sock puppets. Sock puppets aren’t just for kids. Make your own and have them act out scenes that make you upset.
- Use line art. Line is one of the simplest and most basic aspects of art, but it can also contain a lot of emotion. Use simple line art to demonstrate visually how you’re feeling.
- Design a postcard you will never send. Are you still angry or upset with someone in your life? Create a postcard that expresses this, though you don’t have to ever send it.
- Create a sculpture of your anger. For this activity, you’ll make a physical manifestation of the anger in your life.
- Paint a mountain and a valley. The mountain can represent a time where you were happy, the valley, when you were sad. Add elements that reflect specific events as well.
- Attach a drawing or message to a balloon. Send away negative emotions or spread positive ones by attaching a note or drawing to a balloon and setting it free.
- Paint inside a heart. Using a heart as a pattern, fill in different parts of the heart with the emotions you’re feeling right now.
Art Therapy 2015 (pdf)
Check out more art therapy exercises for mind, body, soul: relaxation, happiness, portraits, trauma and unhappiness, collaging, self, gratitude, inside the mind.