Last updated on July 19, 2023
Editor’s Note: This article is a part of the Holos Project, a four-way partnership (ENGin, The Los Angeles Times Insider, Published Points of View, The Outspoken) established to empower the voices of Ukrainian students across the world through one-on-one journalism mentorship. This article was written by Viktoriia from Ukraine with the mentorship of Talia Boren from the United States. “Holos” is the Ukrainian word for “Voice”.
Drawing is a great way to reduce stress. Focusing on creative tasks like drawing helps to alleviate the mind by allowing one to be in the moment. Psychologists suggest different ways of drawing depending on the feelings. There is a common misconception that drawing is for children, however, drawing provides many benefits. According to the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, this process is a kind of meditation and a great way to calm the body and brain. Drawing different lines and shapes helps to clear minds; it’s called art therapy. In line with ACRM, feelings heavily affect how we draw.
Conversely, drawing helps normalize our emotions and gives us a platform to express them. Viktoriia Nazarevych, a Ukrainian psychologist, says that if you’re exhausted, you should try painting flowers in order to feel better again. Angry? So draw different lines. Bored? Draw a rainbow. Want to remember something? Draw a labyrinth. And there are a number of various forms to draw based on your feelings. It keeps your emotions under control. Art therapy allows us to express ourselves by using our subconscious to sort all the mess in our heads out without hurting ourselves.
Around two to three years ago, I first discovered the meaningful impact of drawing. On my birthday, my friend gifted me an interactive book titled, “Kill This Notebook.” Each page instructed a different task such as painting, damaging, or cutting the page to release internal feelings; I instantly got hooked. Even my best friend noticed I became calmer and more balanced. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I felt at ease and I give credit to, “Kill This Notebook.” Then I came across a research article by Anne Bolwerk, “How Art Changes Your Brain”. This article helped me to understand my feelings better. By reading this article, I’ve come to realize that I projected my feelings in the form of a picture on paper, which strengthened and allowed me to cope with anxiety, anger, and other negative feelings more effectively.
Art therapy is not only meant for the youth, but it’s also meant for adults. If you’re annoyed by your boss or something went wrong and you’re about to explode, try and express your emotions by using a pen and paper. This level of freedom may come to a surprise, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Don’t be fooled by the common misconception that you can only benefit from serious painting. Mechanically creating doodles on paper can help people stay focused, grasp new concepts and retain information. For example, if you are sitting in a meeting or a boring lecture, take a piece of paper and start filling it with some patterns. It is important to do this completely spontaneously, without any idea or purpose. Full immersion in the drawing process, by switching from the usual chaotic rhythm of life to a more measured, creative one. Focusing on drawing helps to not think about pressing problems and to concentrate at least for a couple of hours to fall out of the daily whirlwind. The act of drawing goes unnoticed as time flies. Drawing is not only about drawings, but also about fulfilling your need for help.