Stress vs. Art

Frida Kahlo, a great surrealist painter, had a bus accident that left her with a deep injury yet with the pain, she found a moment of peace when making art. Artists relax when making art because they enjoy it-wait, no, not just artists, but human beings. Can art actually help people with their physical or emotional pain? Yes, it’s called art therapy.

Art therapy is an actual profession in which the therapist helps people treat their disorders and problems through the use of art. Today’s teenagers are stressed out. (That’s probably why “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots is playing on the radio.) Nearly half of 128 juniors surveyed at a public high school said they dealt with a huge amount of stress. High stress-levels causes teens to have health problems then and later on in adulthood.

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There are many causes for stress-homework, family issues, bullying- but there are also many ways to cope with it. Some teenagers exercise, meditate, or listen to music to relax, but others use not-so-healthy options such as substance abuse. When young adults use drugs and alcohol to try to fix their problems, it gets from bad to worse. Stress can already affect them by making them feel nauseous or experience mild headaches and in their attempts to improve their predicament, they fail getting even more nauseous after hangovers or headaches after drug abuse. They should not turn to harmful alternatives. Art will help them.

Art and science are usually separated. Rather than art, science is most often associated with health and medicine, but art can reduce pain just the same as some pills could. That’s why art therapy is still used. When helping teens deal with stress, some schools have already taken action. One school, which had to put up with violence on campus, added an art program that helped the students stop fighting and get painting. This turned into a great success! Soon, the students enjoyed their visual arts, music, and dancing classes, which reduced the number of violence related incidents.

Another example is Nicole Gnezda, an art therapist, who wanted to tackle stress in high school students, so she made an art therapy group who had meetings called “Creative Mondays”, which aided students cope with stress or other problems they faced. Not just teens are stressed. Stress can affect anyone-just some more than others. Not just stress, but other problems, physical or emotional, can be dealt with using art therapy. These schools have professional artists and art therapists, but you don’t have to be either of those to relax. Making art is actually quite simple.

It should have emotional meaning to you and can take any shape or form honestly. Crayons, doodles, collages, or a journal-just do it. Stress? Art.