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Mindful Colouring to Doodling: 5 powerful ‘art therapy’ exercises for relieving anxiety and depression

Feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or bogged down by depression? You're not alone. But there's a unique and creative outlet that can help: art therapy. Art therapy uses artistic expression to explore emotions, improve self-awareness, and manage mental health conditions.

Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Published on: April 20, 2024 8:12 IST
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Image Source : GOOGLE 5 ‘art therapy’ exercises for relieving anxiety

Art therapy is a dynamic approach that taps into the creative process to improve mental health and well-being. Utilising artistic expression, individuals can explore emotions, reduce stress, and gain insight into their thoughts and feelings. For those struggling with anxiety and depression, engaging in art therapy exercises can be particularly beneficial. Here are five powerful exercises to help alleviate symptoms and promote mental wellness.

Mindful colouring:

Colouring isn't just for kids anymore. Engaging in mindful colouring involves focusing on the present moment while filling in intricate designs or patterns. This activity encourages relaxation and concentration, diverting attention away from anxious or depressive thoughts. Choose colouring sheets or books with designs that resonate with you, and allow yourself to get lost in the process of applying colour.

Collage therapy:

Collage therapy involves creating collages using images, words, and materials that resonate with you. Begin by gathering magazines, newspapers, photographs, and other materials that speak to your emotions or interests. Then, arrange and glue these items onto a piece of paper or cardboard to create a collage that reflects your inner landscape. This process can help you externalise and make sense of your thoughts and feelings, fostering a sense of empowerment and control.

Sculpting with clay: 

The tactile experience of working with clay can be incredibly grounding. Mold the clay with your hands, feeling its texture and responding to its resistance. You can create a specific object or simply let the form emerge organically, expressing emotions that might be difficult to put into words.


This is a fantastic stress reliever. Grab some pens, pencils, or crayons and let your hand flow freely across the paper. Don't worry about creating a masterpiece; focus on the rhythmic motions and let your thoughts drift. You might be surprised by the shapes and patterns that emerge, offering a unique window into your subconscious.

Art journaling:

Art journaling combines writing and artistic expression in a personal journal. Through doodles, sketches, and written reflections, individuals can explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It offers a safe space for self-expression and can be a powerful tool for processing emotions and promoting self-discovery.

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