How art therapy can help calm the mind

Posted on 12/01/2023

Wellbeing, Health

Art therapy can be a powerful tool for wellbeing, here's how you can make a start.

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We are always keen to share ways to improve mental and physical wellbeing, so we are pleased that Hannah Smithson has shared with us how art therapy can help with this. Hannah is a Yoga and SUP Yoga instructor.  

Get creative

The trend of adult colouring books is showing no signs of slowing down so there must be something to this new form of art therapy that is worth shining a light on. Whether you’re the creative type or haven’t an artistic bone in your body, it has been proven that getting your colouring pencils out and shading in a shape could calm you down.

So, if you’re suffering from stress in any area of your life, dig out your pencil case from yesteryear when you get home and start colouring outside the lines.   

Mindful colouring

We hear a lot about mindfulness, mantras, and meditation but despite our best efforts, it’s sometimes hard to know whether your mind is actually relaxed, especially in the last 10 minutes of your yoga class when your teacher goes into meditation mode and you’re fidgeting restlessly on your mat.

Colouring on the other hand is a simple pleasure which we all know how to do. Clueless colourer or talented artist, it requires minimum effort but with a little attention to detail can focus and relax the brain when you’re on the brink of burnout.  

Lunch break hobby

Talking of burnout, it’s so important to take regular breaks at work to avoid mistakes and meltdowns in the workplace.

If you’re having a tough day at the office, why not try and take 15 minutes on your lunch break to pop out your art therapy adult colouring book (there’s loads around – check out any WHSmith or Tescos and they’re bound to have an array of choices on the shelf).

Don’t check any emails or answer any phone calls till you’ve finished your chosen pattern. What’s lovely is you can watch your picture grow in colour every day and by the end of the week you’ll have a masterpiece to show off.  

art therapy colouring
Childhood memories

It’s been discussed that the act of colouring in actually triggers childhood memories and that the basic recipe of colours and patterns takes us back to when we were young. That playful act of not caring if you don’t keep within the lines or if all your colours are clashing, just adds to the childish nature of this task.

So next time you pick up your ‘adult’ colouring book, you might cast your mind back to those days when time wasn’t an object – you had plenty of it to be free to do exactly what you felt like. This can have a positively liberating effect on your mood. 

Give the gift of art therapy

Perhaps you’re not the stressed one? But you know the person in your life that is! Be it your boss, partner, child, sibling or parent, there is likely someone in your life that could do with some R and R.

Instead of breaking the bank with an expensive spa stay, why not treat your loved one to a cheap and cheerful colouring book and crayons or pencils of your choice.

Explain to them that you only need to look at the explosion of crafts such as knitting in recent years to see how many people are choosing to occupy themselves in creative ways.

Plus, you feel good for giving a gift of zen and knowing you’ve added a little colour to someone’s day.  

Words by Hannah Smithson



art therapy painting