3 Exercises To Reduce Anxiety Levels (No Drawing Skills Needed)
Updated: May 27, 2020
A close friend of mine has been struggling with chronic anxiety for years now and she asked me if drawing could help with her current mental state. I didn't know the answer at that moment but I've researched it and want to share it with all of you today who have the same question or struggles.
Does drawing help with anxiety?
Not only certain exercises but drawing and also painting, in general, have mind-calming, stress-relieving, and anxiety level decreasing effects. This can be as simple as coloring mandala drawings or simply doodling around in school books.
You're probably wondering now, what specific drawing methods there are that can help you improve your mental state. We'll talk about three effective methods that don't even require any drawing skills and what general psychological benefits of drawing are.
I. Drawing Techniques For Anxiety
Yes, drawing is generally already a great method to deal with stressful situations and the anxiety arising therefrom. Nevertheless, I had my friend try out different things and she basically told me that these three following methods have worked wonders for her.
What are the best drawing methods to relieve stress and anxiety?
So, without further ado let's look at the first of my three favorite exercises that can help with anxiety.
You may wonder if that is some kind of joke right now but I can tell you I'm being very serious. This extremely simple method every school kid is basically a professional in works wonders in terms of anxiety reduction.
I couldn't believe it at first either but if you think about it that may have been the reason for us to doodle around in class. Nobody can lie about that, we definitely have all been stressed out by school stuff at least a few times in our childhood, right?
So, if we think about that and the fact that doodling reduces one's stress level, it makes me wonder. Could it be that doodling at school is an almost automatic response to the high stress levels we have been at the mercy of?
However, if you take out you're sketchbook or really just any kind of paper that is lying around in your chaotic room once per day to doodle around for a few minutes this can already help you tremendously with your anxiety.
There is one more powerful benefit of doodling that you probably wouldn't believe if a kid told you that after being warned by a teacher. Doodling does, in fact, enhance your ability to memorize things.
This isn't just an assumption of mine but has been scientifically proven with experiments. Check out the study by clicking here.
The participants of the experiment were separated into two halves. One half was assigned to barely listen to a person transmitting a list of names verbally in a monotone way. The other half had to doodle while listening to the list of names.
In an unannounced test, the doodling group was able to remember 29% more than the group who wasn't allowed to doodle along listening to the message.
Isn't that truly fascinating? You're not only able to reduce your stress and anxiety by doodling around randomly but it will also improve your ability to memorize things. It looks to me as if our teachers owe us an apology, don't they?
Another very effective way to decrease your anxiety and stress without needing a ton of special drawing skills is coloring mandalas. Only thinking about that reminds me of my time in kindergarten. Oh, the little stress we had back then.
Coloring mandalas is simple, you don't need any kind of experience in the field of drawing and it is suitable for kids and adults equally. You can get a great mandala book containing mandalas for kids and adults on Amazon if you click here. The link will open a new tab.
There are several studies such as this one by Babouchkina and Robbins proving that coloring mandalas can have a major impact on one's mood and general state of relaxation. Coloring Mandalas does help with stress and anxiety.
There is, however, also another way you can use mandalas to reduce your stress. I'm not talking about coloring them now but about initially creating them. Drawing your own mandalas is also proven to be highly effective speaking of stress and anxiety relief.
Check out this video to easily learn to draw your own amazing mandalas. At first, I thought it was pretty difficult to draw mandalas since they are always perfectly round but that video showed me how to do it easily without any compass. It's fun and actually super relaxing!
The next, third, and last drawing method without needing any previous knowledge about drawing is very close to drawing mandalas but it's a bit freer.
Zentangle is one of my favorite drawing methods in general even without the aspect of its extremely calming and relaxing effect. It is as easy as drawing mandalas—maybe even easier—and you can create very beautiful art with it.
Zentangle even has the purpose of relaxing the mind and relieving stress and anxiety. It was initially invented to be a mixture of doodling and meditating. If that's not the perfect solution to stress problems and the perfect answer to today's main question what the best drawing exercise is to relieve stress and anxiety, then I don't know what is.
Zentangle can best be described as an abstract kind of drawing that allows you to create something beautiful without having to have a specific goal.
That's the reason why I said it was a mix of meditation and doodling. When you're doodling around in your school book you also don't have a specific goal you want to reach with your drawing as you would have in a portrait drawing, for example.
Zentangle was invented to provide stressed-out artistic people with a possibility to live out their artistic passion and simultaneously being calm, relaxed, and highly focussed.
It was my mother who taught me how to do Zentangle and that finally brought me into the world of art and drawing where I feel more comfortable than in any other part of my life. It began with her watching a webinar online and afterwards showing me this following drawing of hers.
I was so fascinated by that image, I couldn't stop looking at it. All the different lines and shapes and patterns that form this stunning artwork kept me staring at it for at least ten minutes or more. I asked her if I can do that as well and she told me it was easy to learn.
She was never really interested in drawing before but apparently she was able to draw this within approximately an hour. It's actually really not that difficult to create these so-called tiles yourself. You only need a book filled with tangles and you're good to go.
If you click the link above you will be sent to an Amazon site, where you can buy the book I have used the most for my Zentangle drawings. It will open in a new tab.
II. Psychological Benefits Of Drawing
Aside from these already mentioned drawing exercises which you don't need any kind of experience or knowledge for, drawing in general also provides a calming, stress-relieving effect for your mind. I've already said that at the beginning of this article.
What are the psychological benefits of drawing?
1. Enhances The Ability To Focus
2. Relieves Stress And Anxiety
3. Reduces External Over-Stimulation
4. Provides A Way Of Expressing Emotion
5. Increases Playfulness
6. Restricts Intense Thoughtfulness
All of these points basically already speak for themselves and I don't think I need to explain them all in detail. The effects are clearly understandable and by now you definitely know that creating art has a lot of very positive effects on your mind and can help you with severe anxiety and stress issues.
I read about these facts on this website called "arttherapyresources". You can get more information about the positive effects of drawing on your mental condition if you click here. You will also find out even more benefits
III. Related Questions
1. Does Anxiety Affect Creativity?
In one of his research studies, anxiety program developer Charles Linden states that anxiety sufferers appear to have a larger amount of creative intelligence. Suffering from anxiety can, therefore, mean that one is more creative than others.
2. How Do Artists Stay Motivated?
Several simple methods keep artists motivated. Inserting regular artistic creation sessions into their daily plans, seeking input from other artists and their surroundings, and decorating everyday environments creatively are possible ways to stay motivated as an artist.
3. Are Artists Happy?
In contrast to the established sad or even depressed mood that is the common reputation of artists, research shows that artists actually exhibit a higher level of happiness than non-artists. You can say that artists are happier on average.