Stress and stress-related health issues are becoming something of an epidemic lately. People usually list money and work as the main causes of stress and anxiety. In the same time, therapy has become prevalent – patients don’t shy away from talking to a psychiatrist and psychiatrist don’t have a problem with prescribing medication.

But, there are other ways of dealing with these issues that are becoming more and more popular in recent time. Different forms of behavioral therapy can help more than talking and taking drugs. Among these, so-called art therapy seems to work best with stress and busy life. And it comes in various forms, not just partaking in art projects and creating your own art. Taking in works of art can be beneficial as well.

Night at the opera


Everyone who has heard a powerful performance knows that there is something healing in great music. Opera especially with its dizzying peak notes and dramatics climaxes can leave you with the sense of clarity and ease. This sensation can be (and in fact already is) used as therapy for stress, depression and many other mental illnesses. Neuroscientists are calling it melodic intonation therapy and its applications will only increase. Recently there have been ways to easily stream opera online for those who want to have this experience and are dealing with social anxiety as well.

Two ways of drawing your anxiety


This is more active and participatory exercise. It doesn’t require a lot of artistic sensibility. You should just be able to address your anxiety directly. Take a blank piece of paper, close your eyes and draw continuously without lifting your pencil from the page. Do this as if your anxiety itself would try to draw for you. Stop when you think it’s done.  When you’re done try to find a shape in it. Afterword you can write few sentences about the process and about the shape you found. You can do it as narration or as a description of the object you made. This exercise will help you communicate your feelings more accurately.

Another way of doing this requires a bit more talent (thought talent and quality of work are really not the issue here). Try to imagine your anxiety as a person. What would it look like, how would it sound, what it could say? Then imagine yourself when you’re having a difficult day and your stress levels are high. Draw this using whatever technique you have available. Try to describe it and understand it. Not just your problems, but yourself and the way they affect you. Things will look much clearer when you can actually see them in front of you.

Create your happy place


Everyone has a safe space and it usually isn’t a space but a time period. Try to recreate it in a form of collage. Use old photos, newspapers, magazines, book covers or a small piece of cloth. This might sound cheesy, but let the images choose you instead the other way around – when you find something that appeals to you, use it even if you don’t know why it is so. After you’ve found the images, arrange them to create an overall metaphor for a place where you feel most at home. Keep this collage and use it as a reminder.


Anxiety and stress can sometimes feel like an unsolvable problem, when you experience them they become the center of your life. Engaging in artistic projects can be a great way to prove that this isn’t true and that help is just around the corner.

Author's Bio: 

James D. Burbank has worked for years in traditional as well as online marketing. He has worked in Central Asia, Europe and Australasia in recent years.