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What is art? The general misconception about art is that it is only limited to painting on a canvas, but that’s far from the truth. You might have made paper origami objects or tried your hand at pottery in school. Art is all of this, and more. Using your imagination to create something new, be it painting, pottery, writing, storytelling, carving or sculpting, is all art and no matter which form you choose, it can open your mind and bring you pure joy!

In today’s hectic, fast-paced life who has time for art, right? It’s just a hobby or pastime. Truth be told, creativity is an escape for many artists, and it can be a powerful tool of healing and self-expression for you too. You just have to make time for it and once you do, you’ll never want to look back.

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Art therapy is an unexplored area of healing practiced by a lot of contemporary psychologists. This form of therapy is quite different from the traditional methods of psychological healing. The major problem with a person facing emotional or psychological issues is lack of expression. Such people tend to be introverts when it comes to sharing or expressing the stuff they are going through. While during an art therapy session one opens up in the most creative ways possible, it also helps the therapist to know a lot about the patient’s mental health and the steps to be undertaken in this concern in the future.

For serious patients going through anxiety disorders or PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), art therapy has proved to be a great healer. This has also been authenticated through a research study conducted by National Institute of Health, U.S. The therapy is more suitable for children as they are more creative than adults owing to their age, though it could work for adults as well.

Art therapy is often confused with art healing. While art therapy is practiced by professionals and conducted in a more systematic environment, art healing is simply healing through the arts, which could be as simple as taking up a hobby class. For an average person, art can prove to be quite relaxing (and it really doesn’t matter whether you’re good at it or not — what matters is that you have a good time!). If you or anyone around you is going through anxiety or stress, you can look for certain art workshops that you can attend together to ease it all out. For instance, you could sign up for a ceramic painting workshop in Mumbai here, or learn the art of origami in Goa here.

Kalyani Malhotra, 24, is taking care of her family business in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh and has quite a hand at painting. In her own words, “Art prompts me to take up new challenges. It helps me to forget my worries, it helps me to cross the barriers of language and culture and most important thing, it makes me proud of myself.”

If you are not interested in a workshop, take out a pen and a paper and start doodling, or write something! No matter what you choose as your preferred form of art, just enjoy the process. All that matters in art healing is that you are able to express yourself through creativity and forget your worries. Self-expression is the key, and art is the answer.

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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