Advertising
Advertising

6 Fun and Simple Art Projects Guaranteed to Lower Stress

6 Fun and Simple Art Projects Guaranteed to Lower Stress

When you think about art, you probably think about your nearest museum and all the fancy pictures of naked ladies and sculptures of Greek gods there. On the other hand, you might think about some modern wire sculptures, and you are not sure what they truly mean except that they look like over-glorified coat hangers. No, art is about passion and about what the artist feels inside when he or she is making art – which is a good thing to remember. It all sounds complicated. Finding motivation, investing time and effort, how can that be relaxing?

Well, my dear internet reader, art can be whatever you want it to be – it can be as simple as writing a love letter, or as complicated as creating a zen garden. It is about the experience that involves both your motor skills and focused thinking that can totally occupy the brain and push out other stressors through the window, at least temporarily. It can be an excellent healing process for anyone, especially those who have their days filled with anxiety, negative emotions, or simply too much work.

We have made a small artistic list that will certainly help you relax, enjoy yourself, and not to mention that, at the end of this trip, you’ll have something that you’ll be proud of and that will have practical purpose in your life. Let’s start!

1. Get Your Knit Together

Advertising

image01

    First of all, no, knitting is not only for elderly women with lots of cats. Even though I wholeheartedly recommend everyone get at least one cat, knitting can be a calming activity for everyone. In the start, knitting can be difficult to grasp, but once you get through the initial learning curve, the repetitive motion of your fingers will sooth your mind, or even relieve you of chronic pain. There are a lot of knitting groups around you, so you can just Google it. If you are not feeling like spending time with others, there are a lot of tutorials online, so take a look.

    In the end, you’ll have a perfect present for your baby cats, um… I mean, your friends and their human babies, or you’ll be left with a nice scarf that will keep you warm. If you want, you can learn more complex patterns and make something like a whole sweater, then two, then start a knitted sweater empire and rule the world, but I guess ruling the world isn’t as soothing as I might think. Moving on.

    2. Think Inside the Box

    I am talking about creating a memory box. Do you look around your place and see a plethora of stuff that you are too emotionally attached to and you can’t simply throw away, yet you think that it is cluttering your living space? Think no more! Why don’t you create a cute, dedicated box where you can put all your small trinkets away? You don’t have to hide the box in your attic – on the contrary! Make it beautifully unique, and display it on your coffee table. You can buy materials at any DIY store, which include glue, a few measured planks, some glitter and favorite type of cloth. Then take a measuring tape, and start sawing away.

    Decorate it in any way you want, make it for yourself only, so don’t mind if other don’t like it, it’s not meant to be beautiful, it’s supposed to calm you. Then put your favorite trinkets inside, and there you have it – you’ve done something fun, you’ve gained a new skill, you are probably covered in glue head to toe, but now you have something to declutter your home!

    Advertising

    3. Piece Together a Collage

    image02

      The glitter you’ve bought for the last project can be used here as well – there isn’t an art project glitter can’t improve. If you want to create a cute memento that is dedicated to the relationship you have with your partner, best friend, or your mother or father, creating a collage is a good idea. Not only can it be used to improve the looks of your bedroom, but it can also be a nice gift. Collages are usually made by gluing stuff onto construction paper, such as pictures, newspaper articles, anything that you can think of. The only tool you’ll need are scissors, and your imagination.

      Just cut all that stuff in the desired shape, and start arranging them. You can add any kind of memento there, such as used movie tickets or receipts, but you can also use colored paper to fill in the voids, or add pressed flowers. While this might seem like an activity for women only, think again. Once this is done, you’ll have something that can be a perfect gift for someone you love, or even for yourself.

      4. Go Have a Stroke

      You’ve probably heard about coloring books? They are making a great comeback, and what is more interesting, there are a lot of books that are only designed for adults, meaning that they are much more complex than what you’ve seen in your childhood. This requires more thought than you might think, as well as precise movement, but if you find this too restricting, why not try to create a real painting? There is probably a painting club or two nearby, so you can go there and get some basic instruction. If you are not up to spending time with strangers, then you’ll need a blank canvas, any size you want, and any kind of coloring tool.

      Advertising

      Everything from crayons to watercolors is fine, acrylic paintings are quite common nowadays as they create vibrant colors without a lot of effort. You can even try and finger paint, which is even more relaxing, especially if you enjoy getting your hands dirty and getting physical with stuff. If cavemen could do it, so can you!

      5. Origami Your Way out of Stress

      image03

        You do not have to create a prancing horse from a piece of paper immediately, you can start with a simple boat or the famous army cap. You’ve probably heard of origami before, it’s an ancient art of making stuff out of simple colored pieces of paper, and you’ve probably already been jealous of other people who are so much better at it than you. Don’t fret, this is about inner piece, and it is about finding what you truly want.

        You need not compare yourself to others, at least not until you get the hang of it. This simple folding of paper can melt your worries away, and simply occupy you so that you don’t have time to think about how your boss was rude earlier today. Control your thoughts and you will feel better in no time. Then take a picture of what you’ve made and post it online, because what isn’t on Facebook, officially didn’t happen.

        Advertising

        6. “Do it YourShelf” Projects

        This part is reserved for anything else you can think of! Everyone has the capability of coming up with unique ideas that can be extremely satisfying and fun to execute. You can get some clay, and then make ashtrays for your friends who smoke, because, of course you don’t, smoking is bad and can only stress you further. You can find many ideas online about DIY lamps that are quite pretty, and are extremely easy to make.

        Or you can make a laptop cushion for your lap – or you can make a small sandbox that you can place on your work desk and relax when you find things to be too hectic. If you have some tools lying around, you can even create a unique shelf for your favorite books, which you read in your free time instead of watching Game of Thrones, because that show gives, even the best of us, mild anxiety. First he was dead, now he is alive, and Brienne is hooking up with whom? Never mind.

        In the End, Be Drawn to Art

        Sorry, I know, my puns are bad and I should feel bad.

        Back to the topic, If it’s any kind of consolation, all of us are stressed. There are simply so many bills, and so little of us. That is why we are on an eternal quest of finding something that makes us happy, that soothes our nerves and that will help us pass the troublesome times, and get to the stuff that really matters. Our family, loved ones, even our pets. So, take a deep breath, and know that only you have the tool to help yourself, and calming down is usually the first step to success.

        Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/BHNxfaeNCTI via pexels.com

        More by this author

        Vladimir Zivanovic

        CMO at MyCity-Web

        Successful People Seldom Worry Too Much Because They Master This Thinking Skill 5 Rules for Overcoming Adversity and Emotional Pain 7 Coming of Age Books That Should Be on Your Reading List The Active Holiday: 5 Great Activities for Adventurous Spirits Why Lack of Movement is Our Biggest Enemy and How to Deal With It

        Trending in Leisure

        1Bonding With The Boys! 29 Memorable Guy Trip Ideas 26 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself 318 Things You Need To Know Before You Get Your First Tattoo 4271 Best Answers on Quora You Might Have Missed Last Year 520 Fascinating Webcams You Can Watch Online Right Now

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising

        How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

        How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

        Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

        Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

        I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

        You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

        Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

        When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

        I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

        Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

        Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

        Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

        1. The Inner Critic

        This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

        • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
        • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
        • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
        • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

        He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

        Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

        2. The Worrier

        This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

        He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

        Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

        Advertising

        3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

        He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

        He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

        He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

        4. The Sleep Depriver

        This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

        His motivation can be:

        • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
        • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
        • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
        • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

        How can you control these squatters?

        How to Master Your Mind

        You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

        Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

        There are two ways to control your thoughts:

        • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
        • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

        This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

        The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

        Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

        For the Inner Critic

        When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

        You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

        For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

        Advertising

        You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

        “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

        If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

        • He riles up the Worrier.
        • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
        • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
        • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
        • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

        Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

        Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

        For the Worrier

        Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

        Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

        You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

        • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
        • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
        • Muscles tense

        Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

        If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

        Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

        “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

        Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

        If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

        Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

        Advertising

        Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

        For example:

        If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

        “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

        Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

        “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

        Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

        For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

        Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

        The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

        • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
        • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
        • Muscles tension

        I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

        Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

        Breathe in through your nose:

        • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
        • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
        • Focus on your belly rising.

        Breathe out through your nose:

        • Feel your lungs emptying.
        • Focus on your belly falling.
        • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

        Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

        Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

        Advertising

        One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

        Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

        For the Sleep Depriver

        (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

        I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

        Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

        1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
        2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

        When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

        From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

        For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

        If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

        You can also use this technique any time you want to:

        • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
        • Shut down your thinking.
        • Calm your feelings.
        • Simply focus on the present moment. 

        Becoming the Master of Your Mind

        Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

        You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

        Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Read Next