Stress Management Through Creative Expression

The pressure that comes with the ups and downs of everyday life can be difficult to manage, especially when someone is accustomed to suppressing or avoiding it with drugs and alcohol. The ability to relieve stress in a healthy manner is an important component of long-term recovery.

Purpose and Meaning

Creative expression does not require specialized skills or formal training. It is a personal process, a cathartic method that does not have to follow guidelines or be shared with anyone else. When you pour all of your energy into a creative outlet, there is no more room for self-pity, anger or fear. You are essentially getting out of your own way by disrupting negative thought patterns that lead to stress and anxiety.

Self-expression is also an avenue to self-discovery and healing. Creating something personal can lead to a sense of fulfillment that does not exist when someone is consuming substances or otherwise avoiding reality.

Types of Creative Expression

Creativity comes in many forms, all of which can lead to the same goal: relieving stress and finding peace.

Art: Some people create visual images or manipulate line and color to express their emotions, while others do it simply for the process. For someone who is intimidated by the thought of having to draw or paint something, coloring pages can produce the same effect.

Writing: Whether through poetry, prose or journaling, writing is a way to get feelings out and tell a story, whether or not anyone is meant to read it. Writing letters to someone without sending them, is another way to find peace with what you are holding inside.

Music: Both creating and listening to music have the power to move the senses and bring relief. Making music can be as simple as using household items as drums or singing along to an uplifting song.

Movement: Dancing and other active methods of expression help clear the mind and are beneficial for physical health. Dancing for the purpose of stress relief does not require skill, and it does not have to follow a certain form.

Things to Consider

The types of creative expression you decide to use is your personal choice. If nothing from the list above seems appealing, explore other options. Also, engaging in the creative process does not have to be a daily activity, but it is beneficial to practice it on a often. Making it a habit helps to make life as a whole more manageable and less stressful. This habit will promote healthy leisure and become a major source of stress relief.