I’ve spent the last year and a half learning how my brain works. It all started when I realized I wasn’t just stressed, which ended up in a trip to the doctor and a psychologist. Only to find out I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I don’t have it anymore, because I learned what it is and how to deal with it. Through cognitive therapy I realized my brain has its own agenda and I have to stay on top of that. That’s why I’m sharing my view on why you should to draw to relax your brain. Because drawing helps many people to relax, focus and reflect. That’s why it seems to be a good hobby for me too. So how does it work? Let’s dive into that right diddy! You can also check the video on Youtube.
Mind, body and soul
When it comes to health many people tend to only take care of their bodies and souls. They work out for their bodies and they for example meditate for their souls. To me, my soul is me and I drive my body and mind. My mind being my brain, which works on automatic pilot if I don’t control it (with my soul). Does that make any sense? Either way, your brain has its own agenda and it controls more than you realize. But when you finally do, it’s good to start taking control right away.
When it comes to anxiety for example, I learned techniques to distract and rewire my brain from going into an anxious mode. Those techniques are great for anxiety, but not for relieving stress or relaxing. Which is something I really, really need to do. There are of course many ways to relax, but I was choosing to watch Netflix or working out all the time. Which often activates my brain ‘the wrong way,’ and therefor I keep feeling restless. That’s why I felt I needed to go back to drawing, to relax my brain in a different way. So that I can actually relax, rest and rewire my brain.
The benefits of drawing for mental health
There are a few scientific studies out there about the benefits of drawing. This one is quite interesting. I’m no scientist, but I can list the most obvious one’s for you. Drawing helps people relax, focus, release stress, improve motoric skills, visualize, process problems and life in general. There might be even more benefits, but I think these are the most common ones. Drawing has helped me process my life, problems and ideas ever since I was a child. I think this has a lot to do with me not being a talker or a crier. I like to process things by myself before I talk it over with others, if I ever feel the need to.
This is also a bit dangerous because I tend to keep to myself. Which basically ends up in my head exploding because there’s too much going on up there. I get super restless, annoyed and sometimes downright frustrated because I just can’t relax, oops! Drawing helps me think better, just like fidgeting does. I guess my brain has a different way of processing than I first thought. Using my hands to create an image that reflects what I’m thinking of, what I’m feeling or unable to say helps me tremendously. My brain actually gets to relax, and the drawing motions are pretty suiting to me. I’d say that’s very beneficial for my mental health.
It’s a process
How to draw to relax your brain? I think it’s a process. Drawing or doodling occasionally is fun, but creating a new habit and structure is even better in my opinion. I’ve only just started again, so I can’t say I’m doing super well yet. I have the tendency to start a drawing, only to stop because it isn’t perfect. Yep, I’m that person that needs a whole new sheet of paper when just one line is off. Therefore, I’ve made a rule for myself to finish every drawing, even if it’s ugly as fudge, haha! Because drawing for mental health isn’t about perfection. It’s about the process you allow yourself to go through which hopefully makes you feel better.
Being super stressed out about one wrong line obviously isn’t the right way to do it. But it did make me realize how much I need to relax. Because if I can’t let small things like this go, how can I ever relax!? This also shows how much my brain and its habits are ‘in control’ if I don’t take the reins. Which in my case means breaking the habit my brain created: Watching Netflix or going to the gym, only to feel very amped up after. I’m not saying I’m never working out or using Netflix again. I am however choosing to rearrange my time and put it towards a better and different way of relaxing.
How to draw to relax your brain
You might have noticed I’m not telling you how to draw or when to draw. Drawing in general is a very personal thing and it should stay that way. I don’t aim to tell you what to do, but what you can do. Drawing to relax your brain looks different for everyone, maybe you don’t even like drawing. Perhaps you want to give it a try, it’s all up to you. But since you’ve come this far, I guess you’re serious about drawing. I do have some tips for you to help you draw and create a good habit that suits you.
First things first: Drawing to relax your brain and improve your mental health isn’t about perfection. Let it go, take it easy and draw away. Even if it’s just a simple doodle, a geometric shape or a stick figure. There’s no time set for drawing. Some people are done within five minutes, others can sit there for hours. Try out different days, times and occasions to see what suits you best. Invest in good pencils, markers, paint and paper to get into the mood. Create your own little space where you draw and keep your art supplies. Don’t see the drawing as a chore, but as me-time.
Get really into it
I mention before that drawing for mental health is a process. Everyone has a different state of mental health, and that’s okay. I personally have trouble relaxing and letting things go. No matter what you want to improve when it comes to mental health, get really into it! Do some research on what type of drawing style you might like. Check what others are doing, read some books on it and watch some videos to get into the mood. Go out and buy new art supplies, storing items and papier to draw on.
Even though those actions aren’t part of the actual drawing, it helps you get into it. It’s all part of preparing and rewiring your brain for something new. It’s also fun to dive into learning a new skill and different techniques. It truly gives me a thrill when I figure out a new hand lettering technique. Something I thought I was really, really bad at. So go ahead, get really into drawing. Find your favorite spot to sit, put on some music and maybe invite a friend to join you. You get to decide how to use this fun art form for your own benefit.
Do you like to draw to relax your brain?