Easing Anxiety: How Painting Helps Me Stop Worrying

“Our stress and anxiety does not come from believing about the future, but from wishing to control it.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
Anxiety has followed me around like a lost pet dog looking for a bone for several years now.
When Im worried about my health or my daughters health, I feel it the most acutely. I see a weird rash or feel an uncommon feeling and all of an unexpected: panic!
My worries are not limited to health issues though, and my ruminations enter the direction of fear about the future of the world, stresses over my finances, and fears that Im unsatisfactory.
Is my anxiety called for? My mind tells me it is.
” Remember how you had that bad response to a medication? It might occur once again!”
” You understand how your child had that febrile seizure two years earlier? You never ever know what could happen next!”
” Think back to that time you and your family had a sluggish winter season and were incredibly worried about cash. That could be simply around the corner!”
And on and on my mind goes. I know I should not believe what it informs me, however often I get drawn under and cant help it.
I do not believe I was nervous like this when I was a kid. I believe these foundations of uneasiness started when I was older, most likely my late twenties. I suppose already I d lived sufficient life to understand that things can and do fail.
I dont like sensation distressed. I do not like the way my body feels jangly and my mind races. When I cant focus on the thing Im expected to be doing, I do not like it.
However this is not a sad story, its a story of small enhancements and little steps forward. Its a journey of finding peace in the middle of a storm.
For me that peace started with painting.
Let me return a couple of decades, back to when stress and anxiety wasnt part of my life. When I was a kid, I loved art. I drew, I colored, I took additional art classes on the weekends since thats what I took pleasure in.
I went to college to become an art teacher, switching to a graphic style track later. When I completed school in May of 2001, I had a part-time style task, and after the occasions of September 2001, I understood I required to take a trip, to get out of the safe life I was living in my hometown.
When my creative practices fell by the wayside, thats. I would never ever offer up those years of travel and camping and working random jobs, but when I look back, I see this is where I stopped making art.
Luckily, after the birth of my daughter in 2014, the desire to produce came roaring back. Initially, I was utilizing a small corner of a bed room in our small mountaintop rental house to paint. Ultimately we purchased a house, and I had the space to spread out, to keep my materials on top of my desk, prepared to paint whenever the desire struck.
Thats when I began observing something essential: Painting stilled me in a way that absolutely nothing else did. It relieved my fears and anxieties in a manner other practices (deep breathing, practicing meditation) did not, at least not as regularly.
Painting brings me straight into the minute, rapidly and quickly. Thats what painting does for me, no suggestions or techniques or timers or mantras needed.
Yes, I use other techniques to stop my anxiety, however painting is my absolute favorite. I get to produce something new. I get to stream with wherever the brush takes me. I get to be still inside while the rest of the world slopes, all while allowing something lovely to emerge.
When nervous thoughts start to swirl, I understand what to do. I head into my studio, get some materials, and start creating. Quickly enough, the spiraling concerns are gone and rather my mind is peaceful.
Even if you arent artistic, even if you dont have an imaginative bone in your body, I still think you can accomplish the stillness I attain when painting. You might not have a brush in your hand!
First things initially: If you have problem with stress and anxiety, you should look for the assistance of a licensed specialist. As helpful as painting is, I likewise see a counselor, and the tools shes provided me are definitely invaluable.
Now that weve gotten that out of the method, here are the other methods I believe stillness and peace can be found, even if youre not meditating or breathing deeply while counting to 10.
When you were a child, think back to what brought you pleasure and the feeling of flow. Perhaps for you it was playing sports or a musical instrument; writing your own sketches or training your canine to roll over. Whatever it was, try to find ways to include more of it back into your life now.
Start paying attention to your life as an adult and what activities make you forget about the time. When are you totally immersed? When do you fully released? Maybe its throughout a yoga or meditation class, but perhaps its when youre preparing a meal for your household or writing up a budget plan for work.
Still your mind whenever you keep in mind. I do this now, specifically when Im not painting. I understand that a still mind releases my anxiety, and I likewise know I cant paint all hours of the day. Merely discovering the feeling of my body on the chair listed below me or listening to the sounds in the space around me helps my mind to peaceful.
I think the factor painting is so valuable for my stress and anxiety is that, in order for me to be distressed, I have to be worrying about the future and what it holds. When Im doing an activity that requires my full concentration, I have to be in the minute; there is no other option.
All of the practices that we can use to discover calm, whether its altering our ideas, following our breath, repeating a prayer or mantra, they all count on the same thing: bringing our existence to the now.
What activity brings you into the now? What makes you feel totally alive and braided with the moment? If youre creative, it does not matter. It doesnt matter if you like making things. The only thing that matters is finding a way to be here, in the now, rather of in the unknowable future.
** Artwork by the author, Jen Picicci

She develops joy-giving, soul-lifting art work, which is readily available on cards, journals, and more. She also teaches classes on how to develop from your innermost self.

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I do not think I was nervous like this when I was a kid. I think these foundations of nervousness started when I was older, most likely my late twenties. Yes, I utilize other methods to stop my anxiety, however painting is my absolute favorite. Believe back to what brought you joy and the sensation of circulation when you were a kid. I understand that a still mind releases my anxiety, and I also know I cant paint all hours of the day.

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