Using Creativity to Cope with Anxiety: art, dance or writing.
Anxiety can be overwhelming, but there are many ways to cope with it. One of the most effective and accessible tools is art. Art is a very powerful healing tool and it helps managing anxiety in a creative and a healthy way. It does not cost anything.
Using Art to Cope with Anxiety
One way to use art is to draw yourself (outlines of your body) and represent your anxiety physically. You can use colours to represent different sensations in your body; tightness or tensions in your chest or nausea in your stomach.
This can help you become more aware of your body's reactions to anxiety and help you handle it better.
Emotions we feel in the body (this is a limbic system - inner child within us - mammalian part of the brain - amygdala - emotional reactions, hippocampus - memory, hypothalamus - releasing and managing hormones - keep body in stage state called homeostasis).
You can also try drawing what your anxiety looks like. It could be an abstract shape. Drawing this can turn your anxiety into something you can recognise and manage in more healthy way instead of being a scary unknown - something what is always there and I do not want to come closer and look at it.
Another technique is colouring mandalas, which sometimes they have very complex patterns that can take you into a meditative state. Colouring is easy and doesn't require any special skills or expensive materials.
Dancing as a Creative Way to Manage Anxiety
Dancing can be a great way to manage anxiety. You do not need a dance movement therapy, which involves working with certified therapists to guide your movements, dancing on your own can provide benefits for your mental health.
Movement, in general, is considered to be a powerful tool for anxiety and depression. Dancing, even in your own home, can help you feel better. It doesn't matter if you're not an expert dancer, maybe you think that you can not dance - just let the music move you. The most important thing is to let your emotions guide you. Dancing is a form of self-expression, and it can help you shift difficult emotions in the body.
If you feel like your anxiety is holding you back, just acknowledge this and do it anyway, just be mindful of your limitations. Turn on your favourite song and move your body in whatever way feels good. You may be surprised at how much better you feel after a dance session.
Have a little dance and enjoy it!
Writing as a Tool for Coping with Anxiety
Writing can be a great way to use creativity to deal with anxiety. Putting your anxious feelings into words can help you step back and look at them objectively (Prefrontal cortex - Homo sapiens brain - high cognitive abilities - healthy adult within us )
Here are a few writing exercises that you can try to help manage your anxiety:
If you're feeling creative, poetry can be a great way to express your anxious feelings. You don't need to follow any specific rules, no structure, rhyming etc. Just start writing- stream of consciousness and see what comes out. It's okay if it doesn't make sense to anyone, the most important it does to you!
Sometimes, just writing your feelings down can help you process them. You can use a journal to jot down your thoughts and emotions in whatever way works best for you. This can be a handwritten notebook, or even a quick list on your phone.
Write a letter to your anxiety. Talk (write) to your anxiety, acknowledge it, tell it that you feel it in your body and ask what you want it to know (use dominant hand) . Then, put yourself in your anxiety's shoes and write a response to yourself (non dominant hand) . Think about what your anxiety is trying to tell you and how it affects your life.
Anxiety can be very very challenging, but there are many creative tools you can use to manage it. Whether you prefer art, writing, or dance, I am sure there is a technique out there that can help you express yourself and feel better - for free, does not cost anything!
These exercises can be helpful in managing anxiety and getting a better understanding of yourself and your emotions and thoughts ...and then behaviours, and here your coping strategies.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to cope with anxiety - just find what works for you.. Give these excercises a try, commit to it and to yourself at the same time.