Can drawing help with anxiety attacks?

This blog answers questions about: Can drawing help with anxiety attacks? How drawing can help with anxiety attacks? What are some tips and tricks to use drawing for anxiety attacks? What are the signs and symptoms of an anxiety attack? What are some ways to manage anxiety attacks? What are the therapy options for anxiety attacks?

Can drawing help with anxiety attacks?

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There is supporting evidence that shows drawing can help relieve symptoms of anxiety and anxiety attacks. Its relevance can be pointed out through the establishment of art therapy which suggests drawing, painting, coloring, and sculpting can help individuals to express their stress, pain, and difficult feelings but then they are unable to put it into words giving them a sense of calm.

Thus drawing can be a new way that people can manage their anxiety attacks and anxiety-related symptoms. A person need not be an artist to adopt this technique to manage their anxiety attack as long as they can draw with free flow making them feel comfortable.

Drawing can also give individuals a deeper understanding of themselves through the resulting artwork and the creative process that goes into the drawing. Research indicates that the creative process promotes new perspectives that cannot be put into words.

How drawing can help with anxiety attacks?

It can help reduce stress

Drawing gives a person space from negative thoughts, emotions, and feelings that lead to their anxiety attacks. It gives a sense of freedom to individuals to color their drawings which might be congruent to their mood making it a self-soothing process.

Drawing can boost mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to a person’s ability to focus and concentrate on the present thoughts, emotions, and feelings and be aware of one’s body sensations. Drawing can be one way of practicing mindfulness where people can put down their thoughts emotions and feelings onto a paper.

Drawing and coloring can distract people from unhealthy thoughts and emotions and improve the attention that is required for the artwork.

Drawing can help avoid rumination

Drawing can also help people by distracting themselves from negative thoughts and feelings that might be the main cause of their anxiety attacks. Anxiety usually involves rumination or repetitive negative thoughts and emotions.

As dwelling on the same negative thought might increase distress and result in an anxiety attack indulging in drawing or doodling and using colors might be a way to bring a person back into the present and distract themselves

Drawing can help you find your flow

Flow is described as a state of optimal functioning and focus. A person might experience a state of flow while they are drawing. many experts believe that a state of flow can help to enhance emotional Wellness and promote creativity that in turn decreases stress.

Activities like drawing, doodling, and coloring are a great way to get started and achieve a state of flow. A tip to achieving a state of flow lies in taking up challenging activities.

What are some tips and tricks to use drawing for anxiety attacks?

Some tips and tricks a person can keep in mind to use drawing to relieve their anxiety attacks are:

Stay in the moment

To stay in the moment and be completely involved in that drawing a person must find a quiet place where they can spend 20 to 30 minutes drawing and coloring without being distracted. A person can also play some calming music that helps to enhance their mood.

To improve a person’s mindfulness while they draw a person can pay attention to their drawing materials such as their crayons, pencils and notice how they feel in their hands

Remind yourself there are no mistakes

A person must remind themselves that there are no mistakes in their drawings. These drawings are not to be evaluated or judged by anyone else. These are made for their satisfaction and relief. A person must avoid going back and erasing the drawing, wondering whether their drawing is good or bad, worrying that the proportions are not in tune, and getting stuck on making their art accurate I’m realistic.

Use the available resources

Individuals who make up their minds to occupy themselves in drawing to reduce their stress must not worry about the available resources and should not stay away from drawing because they do not have the materials that certain channels say they must carry out their drawing.

A person must find their creative ways to carry out a drawing or art with available resources and see the satisfaction that follows from making something out of very little or no resources

What are the signs and symptoms of an anxiety attack? 

Anxiety attacks are characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:

  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of joking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. However, it is noted that many people experience anxiety attacks that are not significantly displayed.

This might include hyperventilation or silent crying, apart from this individual might also show symptoms that are not very typical of anxiety attacks

What are some ways to manage anxiety attacks?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques

 

Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.

Socialization

 

A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety attacks?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy

 

It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.

Medication

Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time

Conclusion

Drawing can act as therapy for individuals trying to manage their anxiety attacks. However, individuals must understand that this cannot be a replacement for other long-term treatment and therapy options which is necessary to get over one’s anxiety attacks efficiently.

Frequently asked questions 

What is the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack? 

The symptoms of a panic attack are much more intensive and disruptive. Panic attacks lead to dissociation and detachment of an individual from their surroundings.

On the other hand, symptoms of anxiety attack vary in their intensity from mild to severe.

Apart from this anxiety and panic attacks can also be differentiated based on their onset. Panic attacks are most sudden while symptoms of anxiety build up gradually and intensify over a few minutes or days.

How long does an anxiety attack last?

Anxiety attacks typically last for about 10 to 30 minutes at a maximum. The symptoms that are characterized by an anxiety attack reach their peak halfway through the attack.

Anxiety usually builds up for hours or even days before the attack strikes. This indicates that it is important for an individual to identify and mark the factors that trigger anxiety to prevent anxiety attacks.

How do you overcome an anxiety attack?

Anxiety attacks usually reach their peak and subside within 30 minutes. However, some self-help techniques that individuals can use to accelerate this process are:

  • Taking in deep breaths through the nose and exhaling through their mouth
  • Using active distraction techniques such as counting steadily backward or forward
  • Consciously making an effort to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones
  • Carrying out mentally challenging and distracting activities.
  • Participating in mindful meditation.

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/anxiety-drawing#tips-and-tricks

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