When I get stressed I make art.

It's therapeutic. It brings me to a place of calm, a meditative state, just breathing, grounded, improving my focus, better able to handle whatever may come up in my life.

But if I'm in a state of high anxiety, frustration or anger, I need to channel that excess energy before I can move to that meditative place. Doing something physical to work through the anger or frustration is best. We're all aware, of course, of the benefits of exercise in dealing with stress.

And there are many creative activities that are very physical and with the same benefits as exercise. And it's therapeutic even when you're still in that stressed state of mind. Think of standing at an easel, slapping paint onto a large canvas, using large brushes or other mark making tools, bold strokes, strong colours, scraping, adding more paint, scraping again. Or working clay in the hands, shaping, molding, re-shaping,  More vigorous still are dancing and drumming and gardening for releasing emotions.

Once I work through that excess energy and get to a calmer state, then I can access the same benefits we get through meditation: reducing stress, managing anxiety, enhancing emotional health, improved coping skills, slowing down for a short time in this hectic world. I move to a state where I can reflect, listen to my inner self, just breath, be open to ideas, and slow down while I create. 

Sometimes it's difficult to communicate with words what we are feeling. Creating gives us that outlet, working through our feelings and thoughts, through whatever art form we chose, whether it's writing, colouring, painting, gardening, leading us to a better understand of what we are feeling. 

Not everyone finds meditation easy, certainly I don't, and experts promote making art as a great alternative. It's not about the outcome of the work but about the process, although I often find I'm very pleased with my work when I'm in this meditative state of creating. Be with the process. Be curious. Allow creativity to happen. Live in the moment. Breath.  It's good for the soul.


"Music is full of longing and movement.  Painting should be the same." I read this quote in Hundred and Thousands: The Journals of...