Coping with stress through art

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A month into the semester, I have already heard many students talk about feeling stressed from their schoolwork, especially those who work and go to school at the same time. Alma Lopez, a junior studying Entrepreneurship at UVU, said, “I have had semesters that are more difficult than others. Trying to balance homework while working all week can be tiring.”

Many studies show that art can relieve stress and help with other mental illness. In an article from NYTimes, “How I Used Art to Get Through Trauma”, Terry Sullivan talks about how he suffered severe depression after experiencing a shooting , and about how he started drawing and painting to relieve his feelings. He said, “Perhaps I was using the canvas to visually piece together fragments of personal memories, emotions, and fears during this time.”  

Creation can give you power. Art is a type of translation; creating art is a process of translating what the artist thinks and feels into artwork. It is a universal need for self-expression. However, art is not limited to drawing or painting. It can be photography, writing, singing or dancing.

“I have a journal that I write in almost every day. I use my journal as a source to let things out. This makes me feel better. I love to create writings from my heart. I write about my raw emotions,” Lopez said. .

Art can be creative. It does not matter what medium you choose. Personally, I love reading and writing poetry; but it is difficult to be productive when I am stressed. Most of the time, I will just get a piece of paper that is full of words— it can be a newspaper,an article or a short story— then I will circle the words or phrases that can express my feelings. After that, I connect the words or phrases that I circle, and make it a poem.

The artwork that we create does not need to be good, it is just a process of transforming stressful feelings into something that we can control. We can keep the artwork personal, or we can share with the people that we trust. At the end of the day, there is no need to be worried, because you have the power of creation.