Using art to destress

For all ages: Coloring books aren’t just for kids. For a quick and easy destressing activity, pick up an adult coloring book for those moments you have in between commitments on a busy day.

Kodee Christensen

Editor’s note: This article has been modified from its original form to convey accuracy and clarity.

For those of us not in the art department, the subject may rarely cross our minds. However, art is all around us, connecting us, inspiring us and healing us.

Art can help you destress in many ways. Destressing can come in the form of painting sessions with friends or sketching on your class notes. Art is a helpful tool that enriches minds and promotes wellness.

Raven Milam, an art therapist at Valeo Behavioral Health Care, says that the possibilities are endless when it comes to ways of using art to destress. Milam spoke specifically about the benefits of making art from clay.

“Being able to just throw the clay down and release that tension in your body, and being very focused on releasing that anger,” said Milam. “So then, you can take that and create something beautiful or inspiring from it.”

Aside from throwing clay, there are many other ways for us to engage in art as a way to relax, reset and reenergize. 

“Art education is therapeutic, in that it gives people the ability to concentrate,” said Kandis Barker, Curator at the Mulvane. “It helps people learn how to figure things out. You get these higher order thinking skills, something which breeds confidence and gives people a chance to have a mind of their own.”

This concept is seen in the fact that art engages culture and community in ways we may not usually consider. It is a way to catch a personal breather.

“I have an adult coloring book that I color in from time to time,” said sophomore pre-nursing major Kaylee Schweer. “It gives me something that I can physically do while being absent-minded.”

Another way to pursue art as a way to unwind, is to visit the Mulvane Art Lab to get in touch with your creative side.

 “Learning about art techniques is huge, because it kind of helps eliminate that stress of, ‘I can’t be an artist,’ and realizing you actually can. It’s a time to relax and leave your worries outside the door, and come in here and just be,” said Barker.

The Mulvane Art Museum is free and open to the public. For more information on hours and events, visit the Mulvane’s page on the Art Lab.

Edited by Abbie Barth, Adam White