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Making Art Can Relieve Stress And Prevent Depression

Making Art Can Relieve Stress And Prevent Depression

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” ― Aristotle

Whether it is through music, painting, sculpting, or any other form, making art has always been a great way for people to express themselves. It is a great way to let their inner thoughts and emotions out in the open. Not only does art allow freedom, but it also has a soothing effect. In a way, making art is like talking, only you are doing it with an instrument or a paint brush. Either way, its power to heal is significant.

Unfortunately, many of us think that in order to paint something, you have to be talented as well as imaginative. That is not true. Just as with writing, driving, or giving speeches, it is a universal skill. And, as such, it can be taught and learned with a little bit of effort. Better yet, it can be learned by people of all different ages, occupations, and interests.

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All you need is willpower and practice. It doesn’t matter if you are a busy professional, young or old, you can start creating art today.

The benefits of making art: fighting stress and depression

Since not every person is the same or has the same preferences, we have to choose unique ways in which to express ourselves. Thanks to the diversity of art, there are many techniques that can help set your mind at ease, alleviate stress, and fight depression. Depending on the person, some might choose coloring books, which have been growing in popularity in recent years. Fortunately, there have been many published ones with various themes.

The reason these books are so popular is simple: they’re fun. They bring us back to our childhoods, awakening feelings of carelessness, of a child’s innocent and unconcerned mind. Coloring books have a big stress-relieving effect. It seems as though this simple technique can greatly help adults unwind and relax after a hard day’s work.

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If you have a bit more talent, you can move on to painting or drawing and give yourself the freedom to to create something truly unique, to give others a glimpse into your mind and the beautiful mess residing inside.

However, not everyone is into coloring or painting. Others might want to go for a more digital form of art – photography.

Getting started with photography

Because photography demands some time and effort — you need to learn how to use a camera, to understand how lighting works, and so on – it’s an amazing form of therapy for people suffering from depression. Taking the time to learn all the tricks can get someone’s mind off all the dark thoughts. It’s a form of distraction.

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Furthermore, photography promotes imagination and requires some physical effort on your part. The photographer has to go out and about in order to explore their surroundings and practice taking shots of various objects. This constant movement and immersion into society benefits mood substantially.

Even though it seems time-consuming, photography can be your hobby even if you are a busy person. If you plan it well, you can do it a few times a week or a month – it doesn’t have to be a daily ritual. Additionally, you do not need an excellent, high-grade professional camera. Many camera makers have great entry-level options for new photographers on a budget, great examples being the Canon T5 or T5i. With a little bit of practice and a some initial investment, you can get a lot of benefits from this hobby.

“I don’t have time or energy for art,” is not a valid excuse

All you need is a little push. Pick one hobby and start doing it. Not only will it fill up your day, but it will also keep your brain activity normal. Hell, it can even improve your thinking.

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Even if you are a business professional, you still have time for art. Sign up for music lessons, buy a camera, get yourself some paintbrushes and some paint, or even get a few whittling knives and a block of wood – whatever you feel comfortable with — and start practicing. You can do it during breaks at work, before bed, or on weekends. Obviously, there is a time slot for it — all you need to do is say yes.

Think of it as a new challenge and try it out. Plus, art is a great stimulant. It will keep you creative and alert. Besides getting new ideas, you can learn about yourself and get a better insight into your emotions and thoughts. The advantages will quickly become clear in both your personal and professional life.

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Aleksandar Ilic

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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