Anxiety can be difficult to deal with in a healthy way, and it often feels more prominent during the first few crucial weeks or months of sobriety. Our minds and bodies are still healing from the damages of drugs and alcohol, and as a result we may feel more susceptible to feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. However, instead of seeking out a solution in medication, we can find all sorts of healthy, non-pharmacological ways to reduce our feelings of anxiety. One great way to relieve stress if by engaging in creative acts like painting. Writer, poet, and mystic Thomas Merton once said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” When we paint, we art able to express ourselves in ways that we simply cannot with words– we learn about ourselves in a deep and spiritual way. We also allow ourselves to get into a “flow” state, where we become so involved in our own creativity that our feelings of stress and anxiety fall away from us. Dr. Ilana Simons, in a 2010 Psychology Today article entitled Painting Might Help You Find Flow, explains that ‘flow’ is characterized by “sustained concentration, loss of self-consciousness, loss of sense of time, strong sense of control, sense of intrinsic reward, full absorption in the task itself, and positive emotion.” We don’t fall victim to the nagging thoughts of stress and anxiety. Instead, we lose ourselves in creativity and achieve a sense of catharsis that leaves us feeling happy and positive. The state of flow we achieve from art is similar to meditation. According to Be Brain Fit, “Creating art trains you to concentrate on details and pay more attention to your environment. In this way, it acts like meditation.” Like meditation, creative expression allows us to step outside of our constant overthinking and immerse ourselves in a single activity that promotes healing. Creating art also increases dopamine. Dopamine is the “pleasure” chemical in the brain that gives us a feeling of reward. Often, we find that our happiness and sense of well-being is dramatically improved after we spend time in a flow state while creating art.
Your life can become one of happiness, joyousness, and freedom. You can begin building a life of serenity and peace of mind by making the courageous decision to seek help today. Oceanfront Recovery, a licensed dual diagnosis treatment center in the heart of beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with caring and compassionate professionals dedicated to providing perfect environment for men and women to begin the process of healing from addiction. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777