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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Badrock

Resetting your Nervous System with my top 3 art therapy techniques

Resetting our nervous systems can feel like an almost impossible feat when we are in the midst of a Fight or Flight all out panic attack. Sometimes it can feel as if the ground might swallow us up!

But did you know that by doing some gentle art exercises can help us reset our nervous system?

It really is easy, and I personally have seen clients transition from a Deer in Headlights to Calm, Smiling and Laughing. So let's explore my three favourite art therapy techniques to help you reset your nervous system and simply - get your day back on track. We all like living healthy and productive lives.. right?


  1. Breath Drawing HOW IT HELPS: Breath Drawing allows us to subtly take control over our breath rate. Which is perfect for anxiety and panic attacks, as usually, one of the first things we notice happening in our body when we are experiencing this is a change in our breath rate, or sometimes, we even forget to breathe! HOW TO DO IT: Take out a pen and paper. Sit for minute and listen to your breath rate, take stock of how you feel within your body. Observe yourself breathing in and out. Now, take your pen and draw lines in whichever direction, motion and speed that correlates to your breathing. This exercise is not designed to create a perfect picture, so don't worry if it looks all weird. It is supposed to! Next, as you become in sync with your breathing through the drawing, slow down the rate at which your are drawing. You will naturally start to slow down your breathing as you gradually enter a state of mindfulness and relaxation.

  2. DOODLING HOW IT HELPS: Doodling allows us to separate ourselves from the world around us and enter a mental space called a 'state of flow'. This state is where time and stress simply melt away. We become lost in the moment of creating. You will find your thoughts slowing down and then your mind will empty. HOW TO DO IT: Pull our a blank piece of paper and a pen. Set a timer for say 5 minutes. Then just start with some basic shapes and as you continue to draw shapes and lines, pictures and images will start to appear on the page. The trick here, is to not let your pen leave the page during this time and not to over think the process. We are not expecting a masterpiece here. Mindful drawing is not about creating beautiful art ready for exhibition, it is about letting ourselves get lost in the moment.

  3. DRAWING SOMETHING CLOSE BY If you just don't know where to start and actually fee overwhelmed by creating without purpose, then try this activity out. Drawing something close by is a convenient way to quickly slip into a state of mindfulness. HOW TO DO IT: Pick an object close by and pull our a piece of paper and pencil. Closely observe the object, look at its lines and shapes. Now, looking only at the object (and not your paper) draw the object. (Again, this activity is not designed to draw with precision) They key here is to NOT look at your page at all. You can set a timer if you like, or when you feel your finished, stop drawing. As you get emersed in the drawing process and maintain fixed on the object, you will become lost in the observation and transition into a state of presence. Let us know us you found this article helpful, :)

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