Exploring Art Therapy for Mental Clarity and Peace

Creating art is a great way to unwind and ground oneself in the present moment and can be used as a therapy practice called art therapy. It can be a mindless activity where you're drawing in a coloring book or a creative project you are working on. Try out these mediums below to help bring you mental clarity and peace:


Painting is a form of self-expression that transcends words. Whether you're an experienced artist or just a beginner, painting can help you convey your thoughts and emotions visually.

My favorite medium is watercolor. I like to sketch out what I am drawing and then go over the lines with the corresponding colors. If you need inspiration, look outside! Nature is a beautiful canvas to capture.

older woman participating in art therapy through painting

Collage art is about piecing together fragments to create a unified whole. It's a tactile and visual representation of making order out of chaos.

Take old magazines and cut them up. Visit your local library and ask if they have any magazines they do not use. I will collage with either a specific goal in mind, like a vision board, or use it to personalize notebook covers.

I like to vision a theme and choose pieces from magazines or newspapers, cut them out, and create! The process of choosing and arranging images and materials can be both therapeutic and an exercise in mental clarity.


Dance is a powerful means of channeling your emotions and energy. Moving your body to the rhythm of music can be a liberating experience.

Dancing while cleaning is one of my favorite things to do. Put on some music of your favorite artist and get grooving! The physicality of dance helps release endorphins, which reduce stress and promote a sense of joy and relaxation.

Art as Therapy

Art therapy uses the creative process of art to explore and understand emotions, improve self-esteem, and resolve psychological conflicts. It provides a safe space for self-expression and can be especially beneficial for those dealing with trauma, stress, or mental health challenges. Art therapists guide individuals in exploring their feelings through various art mediums.

Heather Mulvenna, LAC, therapist at Acenda, states “introducing art into the therapeutic process signals to the client that their expressions matter. As the creative practice continues in therapy, it helps to model nonjudgmental behaviors and self-acceptance creating safety in the relationship."

She further expresses that "art can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for functions while you are at rest that you can’t control such as heart rate, digestion, and blood pressure. This is instrumental for people who are trying to process complex thoughts, memories or emotions that usually have them sustained in a fight or flight response (also known as the sympathetic nervous system)."

Engaging in various art mediums, whether it's painting, dancing, collaging, or any other creative pursuit, is a therapeutic way to find mental clarity and peace. Each medium offers a unique way for self-expression and relaxation. Whether you're releasing pent-up emotions through dance or finding a sense of accomplishment in a completed collage project, the world of art is boundless in its ability to soothe and heal.

Additionally, art therapy, with its professional guidance and structured approach, can be an invaluable resource for individuals seeking emotional well-being. Art therapists help individuals navigate their inner landscapes and discover insights that promote healing and personal growth.

So, embrace the diverse world of art and discover the medium that resonates with you.

You can find more tips on mental wellness by visiting our Mental Health Resource Center.

About the author:

Mariana Heyel, Communications Coordinator at Acenda, is a South Jersey native who ventured to the University of South Carolina for her undergraduate degree, where she studied Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management, with a Minor in Environmental Studies. With a passion for live music, traveling around the world, and the pursuit of knowledge, she embraces the importance of mental health in her life. In the words of Dolly Parton, "You'll never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try."