Stress Sketching

Stress is everywhere. Hot take, right? Our lives aren’t becoming less hectic any time soon. You have projects that need finished and clients to please and people who need you and you still haven’t gone to the grocery store and you promised Beth you’d call her back and you just remembered that you only have two days to renew your tag and traffic is at a standstill! Your stress ball is in pieces, your motivational calendar is in the trash and you stare forward at your computer screen as a feeling of defeat washes over your spirit. I’d like to point you in the direction of a bit of stress relief that is often forgotten — art.


            If anyone would understand the tie between calm and creation it would be Bob Ross. He famously had a television program that lead people through the process of painting a landscape with a calming, soothing tone of voice and a domineer that was positive and peace filled.

“I can't think of anything more rewarding than being able to express yourself to others through painting. Exercising the imagination, experimenting with talents, being creative; these things, to me, are truly the windows to your soul.” – Bob Ross


            Immediately, some of you reading that art is method of stress relief will state that you are not creative. To this statement, my reply is two-fold:

1: You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it.

2: Creating an image is the secondary effect of art, the first effect is expression.


We all have this phenomenon known as creativity in us and we all use it in different ways throughout our day-to-day lives. Some use it to put together an outfit combination for a dinner party later that evening. Others use it find different roads they can take to get around traffic on their commute home, and some come up with a clever tweet to post when their creative juices start flowing. I want to encourage you to tap into that creativity. Simply grab an old, comfortable, familiar pencil and the back of an envelope you opened earlier that day. Now, let your mind wander through the tips of your fingers and into the graphite flowing out of your imagination onto an otherwise discarded piece of paper. Just doodle for a little bit.


            It’s freeing. No one has to see this. No one will be judging what you put to paper. This doodle is for you and you alone. This doodle allows you to free your mind and stretch mental muscles that you don’t usually get to use; making your mind more agile and improving the areas of your brain used for problem solving, for noticing fine detail and for memory. Taking the time to sketch something down gives your eyes and brain a much-needed break from screens. A chance to produce something tactile. Doodling can also help you focus on something you’re listening to. Plus, doodling is a perfect addition to taking notes during a meeting because they will remind you what was being said, and what you felt while that drawing was being made. Drawing is also a release of emotions and is often used by therapists not only as a way of helping a person process trauma but also as a gauge to see where their patient’s mindset resides.

            I’m not saying you have to draw. If this stress relief doesn’t work for you then don’t stress yourself out trying to pursue it. My goal here is to offer you a simple and peaceful method to release a little stress and expand your mind. Even if you’re blacking out the paper with a pencil or you just want to sketch the same repeated line 200 times, the point is that you find an oasis of rest in the stress minefield we live in. Now you have another option for when your responsibilities become a little too much, simply give your brain a break and have a bit of fun expressing yourself onto paper.