15 Art Therapy Exercises to Control Your Mind and Channel Your Emotions

15 Art Therapy Exercises to Control Your Mind and Channel Your Emotions

Do you feel frustrated, angry, stressed and depressed? Then it’s time you tried out art therapy. Artistic activities like drawing or sculpting can have significant therapeutic and healing effects and help you work through difficult emotions. It helps you express your true feelings without having to speak a single word.

Firstly, let’s get something straight: you don’t have to be an ‘artist’ to benefit from art therapy.

Your artistic repertoire could consist of drawing stick figures or ugly blobs that resemble pieces of turd and it wouldn’t make a difference. What matters are the emotional and psychological impacts of what you draw, paint or create!

If you regularly struggle with a lack of focus, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, stress, frustration, depression, anger or any emotions that you have difficulty processing, you absolutely need to consider giving art therapy a serious try.

Like me, your art therapy practice could be as simple as having a cup full of pencils and a drawing pad next to where you work. Here is what mine looks like:

Art Therapy Ideas

As you can see, there’s nothing fancy about what I’ve drawn. In fact, from your perspective, this page might look like a bunch of mental vomit that has landed on a perfectly nice piece of paper. In any case, its the benefits that count! And I can tell you that art therapy has had some tremendously positive effects on my ability to focus, process grief, express anger, and relax.

In this article, you’ll find a bunch of art therapy activities inspired by Russian art therapist and psychologist Victoria Nazarevich.


What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is the safe, creative, and therapeutic process of expressing your inner thoughts, feelings, memories, and experiences through any form of art.

Art therapy usually involves techniques such as drawing, painting, sculpting, collaging, and other types of crafts that help create more inner self-awareness, understanding, and harmony.

Those who undergo formal art therapy with trained art therapists are often taught to reflect on their art and examine any emotional or psychological truths that may be inherent in what they create.

Art Therapy is For Children, Adults, the Elderly – Everyone!

No matter who you are, where you come from, how old you are or what you do, you can benefit from art therapy. There’s no doubt about it. So if you’re wondering “umm, is this really for me?” the answer is a resounding YES!

Children, for example, often benefit from art therapy because it helps them to process their emotions and learn the art of self-soothing. Adults benefit from the positive mental health impacts and the elderly benefit from the self-expression and social aspects of doing art therapy with others.


11 Art Therapy Benefits

Seeking out an art therapist will help you learn to ‘decode’ the various metaphors, symbols, and non-verbal clues buried in your artwork that reveal hidden wounds, fears, and desires. BUT … not everyone has the means to seek out professional therapy.

Thankfully, there are many books out there such as 250 Brief, Creative, and Practical Art Therapy Techniques which can help you become your own amateur art therapist. You can even join free online groups (such as those found on various social media platforms like Facebook) dedicated to art therapy, post your artwork, and receive insight from legitimate art therapists if that appeals to you.

Whether done by yourself (or with an art therapist), here are some wonderful benefits you can expect to enjoy:

  1. Improved self-esteem and self-worth
  2. Increased ability to self-soothe
  3. Stress and anxiety relief
  4. Improved emotional intelligence and processing
  5. Increased ability to cope with chronic physical illnesses
  6. Improved mental health
  7. Enhanced problem-solving skills
  8. Ability to face past traumas and emotional triggers
  9. Improved communication skills
  10. Increased focus
  11. Emotional and mental catharsis (healthy outlet of self-expression)

And all this simply by putting a pen to paper!


15 Art Therapy Ideas and Activities For Beginners

15 Art Therapy Exercises to Control Your Mind and Channel Your Emotions

Now, let’s get to the core of this article, shall we? You will find some amazingly simple and effective art therapy ideas and activities below:

1. Sadness

Paint a rainbow:

Paint rainbow


2. Worried

Make origami:

Make origami


3. Listless

Draw landscapes:

Draw landscapes

Spectacular Tattoos Inspired By The Art Of The Amazon

In the rich and diverse world of tattoo art, Brazilian artist Brian Gomes is creating his own unique style inspired by hundreds of years of sacred geometry and indigenous designs.

“I’m constantly inspired by Brazilian indigenous graphics, sacred geometry, Islamic and oriental patterns.” he explains.

But above the visual nature of his designs, his work is also intrinsically linked to his studies in shamanic philosophy. It’s a belief system that recognizes there is a spiritual world directly linked to our physical one – that all physical things have an inner spirit.

Tattoos Are The Ripe Fruit Of The Soul. They Are Our Inner Beauty

His complex tattoos adhere to certain spiritual patterns, each carefully designed to protect and bring good fortune to those who bare them.

Whether you buy into such superstition is entirely an individual choice, but few can question the sheer beauty and detail of his work.

You can see daily updates from his tattoo studio via his Instagram account @briangomes




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The Semi Colon Tattoo: Here’s What It Means and Why It Matters

The Semi Colon Tattoo: Here's What It Means and Why It Matters

You might have noticed a recent trend in tattoos and wondered what it means.

The semicolon tattoo represents solidarity with those struggling with mental health issues, or a reminder to those who are winning their own personal struggles every day, when they choose not to give in.

The trend was started by Project Semicolon, but it is so much more than a trend. They explain its significance as follows:

“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” 


Project Semicolon is dedicated to providing hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury. Their mission is to inspire those who self-harm, or are considering suicide, to choose a better alternative—for themselves and for their loved ones.

Although the campaign has gained considerable exposure in the media in recent weeks, it has been ongoing for two years now. Initially it was intended for the semicolon to be a temporary marker on the skin to raise awareness, but the campaign had such a strong response that people are embracing permanent tattoos, as well as temporary ones.

It all began in April 2013 when founder, Amy Bleuel, posted a request on Twitter encouraging others to draw semicolons on their wrists on April 16th to break their silence about their struggles with mental illness. Bleuel, whose father died by suicide in 2003, has had her own struggles with mental illness, self-harm and suicide attempts. So she lives with a keen awareness of the importance of choosing to stick with life.


The project doesn’t provide a helpline service—although they do provide details of where people can seek such urgent care. They focus on education and inspiring those who are suffering to choose recovery.

In this light, the semicolon tattoo has had a powerful effect:

  • It is a reminder of personal inner strength to those who wear it.
  • It is a visual aid to bring the wearer back to the power of choice.
  • It is a conversation starter, which leads to…
  • Increased awareness and understanding around mental health issues.
  • It is breaking the taboo around mental health discussions.


Using the hashtag #ProjectSemicolon, the project has also become a means of connecting with others living with depression, suicidal thoughts and self-harm—enabling people to support and encourage each other, and promote the real possibility of recovery.

This project is an inspiring example of the effect each of us can have on the world. Seemingly simple acts can have far-reaching ripples. Project Semicolon has an ambitious vision and they are inspiring others to remember there is another way, other than self-harm and suicide.

The vision is that, for the first time, people feel what real love is.
The vision is that people see the value in their story.
The vision is that suicide is no longer an option to be considered.
The vision is that everyone loves one another regardless of the label they wear.
The vision is to reduce suicide rates in America and around the world.
The vision is that drugs and alcohol are no longer an escape to be used.
The vision is that blades are put down.
The vision is that for the first time steps are taken towards recovery.
The vision is that society no longer pushes mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury under the rug.
The vision is that for the first time conversations are being started.
The vision is that everyone comes together as a community and stands together in support of one another.
The vision is hope, and hope is alive.
The vision is LOVE.
You are not alone. Your story isn’t over yet.

~ Amy Bleuel, Founder & President of Project Semicolon




The Semi Colon Tattoo: Here's What It Means and Why It Matters