Anxiety art (3 techniques of art therapy)

In this article, we will be discussing the topic: anxiety art. We will be examining how to incorporate art into your life to reduce and manage your level of anxiety and the various forms of art techniques that can be used to alleviate anxiety. We will also be answering various questions related to anxiety and its forms and nature.

Anxiety art

Art of many forms and varying intensities have been proven to be useful and beneficial for those people who suffer from anxiety. Art therapy has a positive influence on those who struggle with severe anxiety and panic attacks. The treatment options involving art is suitable for people of all ages and from all backgrounds.

Art therapy helps people who suffer from anxiety to openly express themselves, feel a sense of calm, and become more self-aware. It also works as a wonder for those seeking relief from anxiety-related disorders. Art therapy is mostly involved as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes other treatment options as well. It helps in reducing the symptoms of anxiety drastically. 

Art therapy

Art therapy is more than scribbling, doodling, or painting in coloring books. It is a scientifically studied, experimented, professionally practiced treatment option that is presently a great source of help for people in schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, military bases, and therapy settings around the world. When you perform artistic, creative, and authentic art in the presence of professionally trained artists who are also therapists, it helps you in gaining better insight about the working of our emotions, about ourselves, and to gain a sense of calm and composure. 

Art therapy works for people of different ages, races, and backgrounds and helps several people to deal with their difficult emotions and thought processes that cause anxiety and excessive worry. This form of therapy also helps those people who suffer from anxiety as a result of their trauma and those who are suffering from long-term illnesses such as cancer to better cope with the reality of their situation. 

Art therapy for anxiety – the mechanism

Art therapy helps people with anxiety to cope with their situation through the following ways:

Calms the nervous system

The inherent nature of art therapy activities is calming, meditative, and helps in soothing the symptoms produced by excessive stress, nervousness, and irritability. When your mind becomes calm and composed, you will be better able to process and deal with your difficult and overwhelming emotions. 

Art therapy is especially useful for solving deep conflicts through brief and meaningful moments of calm gained during the process of art therapy. Gradually, the people who undergo art therapy find it easier to get by days without getting excessively anxious or worried over irrelevant matters. 

Enhances self-expression

Art therapy serves as a safe and secure outlet for you to express your genuine self, completely, and without any fears. Through the administration of thoughtful exercises, under the guidance of an understanding and professional art therapist, you slowly start to learn to express yourself in a more creative, constructive, and authentic manner. It helps you to unwind and release your anxious thoughts and emotions that are suffocating you. Creative expression allows each one of us to connect with our deepest emotions and to understand them in a healthy and rewarding manner. 

Increases self-awareness

Engaging in any kind of creative pursuits helps us to gain more insight into the person we are and be aware of things about us that we were not aware of, earlier. This happens more evidently and beautifully when you are taking part in an art therapy session. Through meditative, explorative, and expressive forms of art, participants automatically start to see the myriad shades of their persona and what it constitutes. We especially tend to become more aware of those emotions that exist beneath our conscious realm when our minds are focused on creative activities. 

Art therapy techniques

Anxiety expressing itself 

This technique of art therapy focuses on paying mindful attention to your body while drawing with the help of your intuition. In this technique you make use of meaningful patterns or continuous loops on blank papers, focusing your attention on the body and where you feel the anxiety in the body. In case if you notice your mind-bending towards the element of judgment or control, you could opt for your non-dominant hand. 

You can create the patterns using your favorite colors and your most loved art materials. Work with anything which makes you feel free and comfortable. Once you have drawn out your anxiety, ask the image what does it want and why is it residing inside your body and mind. Be gentle with it and observe it. 

A collage of calm

This technique talks about the creation of a personal visual reminder that creates a safe and secure place for you to turn to. It is highly helpful for soothing extreme fear and vigilance. For this technique, you will need blank papers, markers, glue sticks, and pens. Take deep breaths and take a trip down your memory lane. Remember those moments or days where you felt happy, heard, at ease, and free. 

Make portraits or cut out pictures from your albums and start creating your collage. Try letting the images choose for themselves, rather than you choosing it by force. Create a collage of your favorite pictures and portraits that made you feel loved, joyful, and valued as a human being. 


In this article, we discussed the topic: anxiety art. We discussed how art helps with anxiety, the role of art therapy in alleviating anxiety, the mechanisms through which art helps in managing anxiety, and art techniques one could adopt to engage in the process of art therapy. 


FAQs: anxiety art

What are the four types of anxiety?

Anxiety can be defined as an emotional response to some kind of future threat or danger. The types of anxiety are as follows:

Separation anxiety disorder – this kind of anxiety occurs when someone displays anxiety or fear of being separated from certain people and that which is considered inappropriate for the situation. In this case, there will be recurrent episodes of excessive worry that occurs, when they think about being separated from their major attachment figures.
Specific phobia – specific phobias refer to an excessive amount of anxiety or fear towards a particular person, place, event, or emotion. This occurs when they are exposed to the stimulus of phobia and the fear or anxiety expereinced is disproportionate to the level of threat posed by the stimulus. It leads to the development of several dysfunctional behaviors that are harmful and undesirable for one’s well-being. 
Social phobia (social anxiety disorder) – social phobia is a type of phobia characterized by excessive fear or worry concerning one or more social situations where there are chances of being scrutinized or judged by other people. These situations could be meeting strangers, eating in front of people, or even performing something in front of a crowd. 
Panic disorder – panic disorder is characterized normally by two features. There will be recurrent unexpected panic attacks and there will be excessive fear and tension concerning another panic attack and engaging in maladaptive behaviors designed to avoid future panic attacks. These attacks involve extreme and intense periods of fear and anxiety or both that affect the physical functioning and emotional functioning of an individual. 
Agoraphobia – agoraphobia refers to the fear or anxiety concerning getting trapped in one or more situations or events from which escape is difficult. These situations could be being left in open space, being in a crowd, being in some kind of public transportation, or being in enclosed spaces such as theaters, lift, or grocery stores. Sometimes, some people may experience symptoms that are similar to a panic attack while suffering from agoraphobia

What triggers anxiety?

Factors that trigger anxiety in people differ from one person to another. It also depends on the personality type of the individual. Some people of certain personality types are more prone to anxiety than others. Sometimes, a big event or even a buildup of a small event can trigger extreme anxiety in some people. It could be work stress, financial stress, relationship issues, the death of a loved one, or certain behavioral patterns that you might notice in yourself.

People with anxiety disorders have frequent, persistent, and intense worry and anxiety about everyday situations. It disrupts their daily functioning and does not let them enjoy their life in peace. 

How do I stop my anxiety?

Instead of trying to stop anxiety, you could truly out the following ways to manage your level of anxiety. They are as follows:

Take some quality timeout for yourself and keep away from busy schedules and technology
Try to indulge yourself in well-balanced meals throughout the day.
Control the consumption of alcohol and caffeine as they can aggravate your anxiety and chances of occurrence of panic attacks are increased.
Get enough and a sufficient amount of good, undisturbed sleep.
Try to make the regular workouts a part of your daily routine, that suits your body type and needs.
Try the old-school method of counting backward from a hundred. 
Practice breathing exercises regularly and intentionally.

What does anxiety do to the mind?

To begin with, when you are experiencing anxiety, your fight or flight response gets activated instantly. This, in turn, releases a flood of chemicals and hormones, like adrenaline into your system. This will eventually increase your pulse rate and breathing rate to increase the supply of oxygen to the brain. This will help you to respond appropriately to an intense and overwhelming situation. 
However, chronic anxiety can interfere with your life very badly. Anxiety can also have serious consequences on your physical health. This can increase the frequency of symptoms such as headaches, depression, and dizziness. Severe anxiety also affects your cardiovascular health adversely. Besides, if you are already someone who suffers from heart problems, anxiety can increase the risk of coronary events that could cause potential harm. 

How can I instantly reduce anxiety? 

You can instantly reduce anxiety in the following ways:
Take deep breaths
Acknowledge the fact that you are anxious, gently
Question the validity and relevance of your anxious thoughts
Try the method of visualizing something calm and peaceful
Observe your anxious thoughts and feelings, without judging them or being overwhelmed by them.
 Use positive reaffirming statements and phrases that can help with your anxiety
Focus on the present moment and accept your mistakes of the past. 
Talk about your anxious thoughts and feelings to people with whom you are comfortable.

What foods trigger anxiety?

Processed foods tend to increase anxiety. If you eat lots of processed meat, fried food, chocolates, pastries, and high-fat dairy products, you tend to get more anxious and depressed, over time. A diet that is rich in fiber-rich grains, fruits, vegetables, and different types of fish can help you manage your anxiety and keep it under control. It helps you to cleanse your system and make you feel physically and mentally rejuvenated and good about yourself. 


Does Art Therapy Work for Anxiety? Creativity and Comprehensive Treatment Programs