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Painting and drawing: benefits for children and adults

Painting and drawing are beneficial for the health and emotions of both children and adults. In addition to being entertaining, it helps to reduce stress and anxiety temporarily

Vacations, professional retirement, or weekends with bad weather make us take refuge in board games or family movies. But they are not always enough to distract us. It occurs to many people, in these circumstances, to paint or draw for pleasure, fun, or as therapy. It is an excellent idea, according to the experts, since this activity is a magnificent form of expression and communication. In fact, it brings countless benefits to all ages. What effects does it have on emotions and feelings? What is better: letting your creativity flow or coloring compositions like mandalas? In this article, from the hand of a clinical psychologist, these issues are addressed.
Benefits of drawing and painting Activities such as drawing and coloring are associated with the little ones and have been shown to help them express themselves, relax and stimulate their creativity. Nevertheless, they are not the only ones.

Adults, although more reluctant to pick up colored pencils, also reap great benefits. And what better idea than to take with the smallest of the house, or each one on their own, the pencil, the paint or the brush.

The clinical psychologist Amaya Terrón describes that rhythmic, regular, and smooth movements with an impact on the paper or coloring filling in delimited spaces can make the person focus so much on the task at hand that, with the correct training, they become disconnected from other intrusive or anxiety – provoking thoughts Among all the benefits, it is worth highlighting:

Helps to focus

It is an excellent tool to dismiss spontaneous thoughts and, at the same time, it helps to concentrate.

Provides well-being

Copying from nature or imagining what to paint, mixing colors, walking between brushes… brings happiness. And, as in the case of sport, not only during the activity, but also after finishing it.

Reduces stress

Reduces stress, anxiety and anguish temporarily. A study published in 2016 in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association found that painting and drawing lowered cortisol levels, which is responsible for stress.

Promotes self-awareness

It promotes states of high concentration where the defenses fall and the person is more open to certain contents about himself and the circumstances that surround him.

It helps to become aware of some emotional states and, given its highly relaxing component, makes it more resistant to face and resolve them.

Encourages creativity

The process of drawing and painting means that the brain is constantly on the go to devise new houses. Starting to create favors the “need” and the pleasure of wanting to create again.

Benefits in the development of children

Painting is one of the most fun activities for the little ones, it is enough to provide them with the necessary material, sheets of paper or a notebook, and colored pencils or paints. In addition to enhancing their creativity and giving free rein to their fantasy, it provides other benefits in their development at different levels:

Stimulates motor skills

Helps develop their fine motor skills and manipulate small objects.

Improve spatial understanding

It improves the understanding and perception of space and its surroundings and helps them discover different textures and colors.

Increases self-esteem

It causes great satisfaction, which contributes to increasing your self-esteem. And, besides, they have fun with it.

Helps to express feelings

It gives them the space to express their feelings and concerns, such as insecurity, confidence, or worries.

  • Foster your creativity and sensitivity.
  • Serves to relax
  • It relaxes and calms them and favors the ability to concentrate.

Give value to effort

They learn to appreciate effort and work.

Do drawing and scribbling have the same effects?

Art, in general, is used in psychological therapies with good results and through an endless number of modalities: painting, writing, collage, drawings, doodles, creating masks, sculptures or coloring mandalas, among others.

How drawing helps

Drawing is the artistic expression that reveals the inner world. “But there are no fixed rules,” warns Amaya Terrón. You have to analyze it in context, getting to know the person who does it and their environment, and even letting them explain the content and meaning of the drawing.

The information that people contribute in expression through art and in its interpretation is very valuable, ”he adds. Sometimes, even the person’s attitude towards the activity, how quickly it starts, the doubt they show about the content, the security they express, if they look a lot at whoever is observing them… are signs that can be captured and interpreted to learn more. about the inner world of that person.

In the drawing, for example, people with sensory or physical problems or with certain disorders or diseases can be helped to communicate in a different way.

In psychological therapies, drawing facilitates the expression of entrenched emotions, to which there is no other way to access and, thus, find a solution; helps the person to understand their own fantasies and fears, to know themselves better; Increases creativity by looking for forms of expression other than words -sometimes, what cannot be said can be drawn-; and, also, it serves people with sensory or physical problems or with certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, and as a means to communicate in a different way.

Doodling benefits

Doodling or scribbling also has effects at the psychomotor level, for children and adults:

Children are the most common users of this type of drawing and it causes them “cognitive and emotional effects: it helps them to become aware of themselves and their actions, to express themselves and to gain motor acuity”, details this expert.

In the adult, scribbling can have the goal of a ritual that drives away anxiety or serves as a mantra to focus on one thing and drive away other invasive thoughts.

This relaxing effect is produced thanks to the fact that it is carried out in a context far from rigidity and rules, which allows it to flow regardless of the final result, in which random lines and strokes are followed, according to the taste and needs of the person, and which can be more marked, more concentric or more extended, more structured or more chaotic, depending on the state and personal taste.

“It is not uncommon to find those who doodle automatically when in a semi-conscious situation, although it is also used as a means of promoting creativity while in a prior waking state. It is a way of concentrating on oneself, becoming aware and letting oneself go until finding that phase of inspiration so sought after by artists”, explains Amaya Terrón.

Mandalas are more than a fashion

Coloring mandalas is in fashion. It is also booming in clinical practice to work with some cases of hyperactivity since they are forms of almost hypnotic concentric circles that help minors to focus on a specific task.

By focusing and having a function active in their mind, they relax. “Although it is not an activity that is limited only to children, the constant activity involved in coloring these compositions, regardless of age, helps to achieve harmony and mental connection with oneself, through constant activity,” he explains. the psychologist Amaya Terrón.

Although painting mandalas requires patience and concentration, it is a task within the reach of anyone, and, once finished, the feeling is one of personal harmony and a pleasant sensation. “It is a job that relaxes and helps creativity and self-discovery emerge. Sometimes, they are used as a means of reaching a deep meditation, since it can lower blood pressure and heart and respiratory rates”, adds this expert.


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