Art Therapy: A Simple Method to Deal with Stress

If you have ADHD, anxiety, adrenal problems or if you are basically living and breathing, you probably deal with stress and difficulties processing that stress.

This can be especially true for people who don’t have neurotypical brains because our brains are already a little off and prone to misfiling information.

Many anxieties (for example, phobias) comes from the brain not filing information properly. That’s how something as nondangerous as a housefly could cause a panic attack in someone with that phobia: houseflies got misfiled in the brain as dangerous.

Those of us who are neurodiverse also have a greater possibility of having PTSD than neurotypical brains because PTSD involves the misfiling of information in the brain during a stressful situation. We already have issues with misfiling information due to stress and executive function, so it is quite understandable that we would be more susceptible to PTSD.

As part of the treatment for my low adrenals, my doctor suggested that I try art therapy to lower my stress and the tax on my adrenals. However, the art therapy instructions she gave were very nonspecific and abstract.

I don’t deal well with abstract. I’m going to blame that on being a Highly Sensitive Person, but it could just as easily be something else.

No matter the cause, I deal better with more concrete ideas.

I read as much as I could find on art therapy online and came up with my own method that seems to be helping me.


Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a psychologist. I’m not responsible for problems that occur as a result of using this method. These problems could range from remembering things that make you angry or messes from children having art supplies. Proceed at your own risk.


Some people actually go to college to teach art therapy, and I’m sure they would balk at this.

I’m not saying it’s the right way; I’m only saying it has worked for me.

The purpose of this method art therapy is to help you let go of things that stress you.

Anything that helps you to that end, even if it’s not the same as what the professional would do, is a good thing in my book –provided that it’s both legal and moral, that is.

True clinical art therapy is much more involved than what I’m doing.

Some versions I saw online also involve emptying yourself and letting your spirit guide show you what to do. As a Christian, I won’t be following any spirit guides, but I do pray during the process. If you aren’t religious you can just as easily skip the prayer part.


What you need:

  • A sheet of paper (such as computer paper but any will do)
  • A variety of color crayons or pencils
  • A pen (black works best in my opinion) or a regular #2 pencil

Parts of this activity I have actually been doing since I was a child –minus some of the angry scribbling.

It is simple enough that a child could do it, and I think a child understand it.

This video explains the process including how to adapt it for kids –even special needs kids.

This is one of the first times I have made a video, and I apologize in advance for all the times I say “Umm.” I am obviously not comfortable with the medium of video yet, and I smiled at my own discomfort when I replayed the video. I had also hoped to be able to caption the video for my hearing-impaired friends, but my computer was not cooperating. I may be able to do it sometime in the future but not today.

If you have any questions about the video or the method I use, please ask! I am happy to help.

I hope this was helpful in learning to de-stress.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

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