Four Artistic Activities to Help Relieve Stress

Not sure what to do with that tension you seem to suffer from all day? In this article, we suggest four artistic activities to relieve your stress that are based on emotional expressiveness.
Four Artistic Activities to Help Relieve Stress

Last update: 27 September, 2021

What’s the best thing to do when you’re stressed? You may well have found yourself asking this question at one time or another. As a matter of fact, sometimes, artistic activities can be useful to relieve stress. That’s because they give you a voice to communicate both the conscious and unconscious processes of your experiences. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stress is “the set of physiological reactions that prepares the body for action”. It was these reactions that allowed our ancestors to survive in the face of environmental threats.

However, nowadays, daily life and the tendency to hyper-productivity have led to stress being more of a sustained response over time. This is due to constant threats such as workload, relationship problems, and financial difficulties, among others.

In other words, in today’s world, a problem arises when stress persists over time and the body enters a state of resistance. This can lead to the body and mind protesting, and entering a state of exhaustion, discomfort, anguish and constant fatigue. Read on to discover six artistic activities for relieving this kind of stress.

Stressed woman

1. Mold with clay

Clay has always been the raw material used in the making of pottery. In fact, throughout history, pottery has been made to shape or represent cultural symbols.

Touch is one of the first human experiences. When you model with clay, you use your sense of touch to knead, smooth, mold, and moisten the material in order to make your final creation. This makes molding a pleasant and relaxing activity. Indeed, it induces relaxation and causes a reduction in cortisol levels, thus reducing stress and anxiety.

Scientific literature has concluded that the role of touch when using materials such as clay is related to a decrease in blood pressure and an improvement in the autonomic nervous system.

2. Dance

Unlike other art forms, dance is renowned for its ability to create mind-body connections and improve physical and aerobic health. Group dance in particular reduces stress and directly improves your mental health.

In fact, dancing in a group setting will facilitate confidence and the feeling that you’re part of something bigger, providing you with enriching emotional experiences and empowerment.

Dance is liberating. When you dance you express a certain set of emotions for which there are no words. In addition, dancing releases endorphins that help you to feel better and maintain a more optimal physical condition.

3. Explore theater improvisation

Good mental health and well-being configure your ability to adapt flexibly to changing situations. Therefore, you’re provided with more and better resources to deal with stressors.

In this sense, improvisation theater is a good setting to develop part of your potential.

In fact, theater can generate a space for you to improve both your self-knowledge and self-esteem. Furthermore, it can be a place where you’re able to express your emotions. Indeed, theater can help you combat stress in a place where there’s no judgment, giving form to certain processes that’ll improve both your communication and understanding.

4. Play an instrument

Music and playing an instrument can be extremely useful when it comes to releasing tension. This is because each musical note is capable of stimulating your nervous system in a very particular way.

As a matter of fact, music can make the pain more tolerable in some chronic patients. In addition, it’s a real benefit in general terms, as it tends to distract you from your stresses.

Woman playing guitar

Are all artistic activities to reduce stress useful?

All art forms are potentially useful for reducing stress since they provide a concrete way for your emotions to emerge. Therefore, you obtain benefits at a psychological level for the reduction of chronic stress.

Therefore, as a starting point, you should consider these forms of expressiveness as a possible way of externalizing a good part of your inner world. Remember:

“Art allows us to express ourselves and get to know ourselves; by giving our emotions a place on the outside, we achieve great inner relief. Whoever can create an object can create himself .”

-MS Fernández-

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  • Erwin-Grabner, T., Goodill, S. W., Schelly Hill, E., Von Neida, K. (1999). Effectiveness of dance/movement therapy on reducing test anxiety. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 21, 1934. doi:10.1023/A:1022882327573
  • Miranda C., Marcelo y Hazard O., Sergio y Miranda V., Pablo (2017). La música como una herramienta terapéutica en medicina. Revista Chilena de Neuropsiquiatría, 55 (4), 226-277. [Fecha de Consulta 24 de Septiembre de 2021]. ISSN: 0034-7388. Disponible en: https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=331554485007