Therapy stress relief

Stress Busters: 4 Integrative Treatments

Stress Busters: 4 Integrative Treatments | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Nearly half of women report a rise in stress levels over the past five years. And while women and men tend to cope with stress differently, we know that chronic stress contributes to a range of health problems in both sexes, including mental health disorders, heart disease and obesity.

Integrative treatments like meditation and acupuncture can help reduce stress and related problems. These techniques are gaining mainstream acceptance as research demonstrates their positive health effects.

Managing stress calls for addressing the mind as well as the body, since both the brain and body contribute to symptoms.

  1. Meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

    Meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) are therapies proven to help manage anxiety and depression.

    Meditation is an ancient practice that helps you reach a relaxed state by focusing on breathing and awareness of the body in the present.

    MBSR is a program that draws on the principles of meditation to help people become more aware of how negative thoughts impact physical feelings. Research has shown that benefits of MBSR include:

    • Reduced stress and worrying
    • Improved memory and focus
    • Fewer emotional ups and downs, and greater resilience
    • Improved relationships

    Evidence supports the idea that meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction are very helpful for managing mood disorders, and experts recommend it.

  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy focused on pinpointing and questioning negative, often mistaken thoughts that can lead to behavioral and mental health problems, such as anxiety.

    Research shows that people who receive CBT have a greater reduction in mental health symptoms as compared to people who use medication alone.

    There is solid evidence that CBT, meditation and MBSR are effective.

    All of these techniques are safe and have no side effects. A motivated person can practice them on their own. While integrative medicine may support traditional medicine, it is not a replacement, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

  3. Acupuncture

    Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice involving the use of tiny needles to stimulate the nervous and immune systems. During the procedure, a licensed acupuncturist inserts hair-thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Acupuncture is painless, and research shows it helps support conventional treatment for a range of problems that include stress, chronic pain and digestive disorders. Experts note that it may be particularly effective for insomnia.

  4. Massage

    While many of us think of massage as a rare, indulgent treat, studies indicate massage helps treat a variety of stress-related disorders, including anxiety and insomnia. While one treatment is good, a series of massage treatments can be even more effective.

    It's important to talk to your doctor about whether massage is right for you. It may not be appropriate for people with certain conditions, such as bleeding disorders or osteoporosis.


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What Works, Who to Work With, and Destressing ASAP

Stress is a normal part of life — good stress and bad stress. With bad stress, you have both physical and emotional reactions to certain triggers that can cause you to worry and feel on edge. Stress can fluctuate at work or at home, while challenging situations and other changes in your life can trigger it, too.

If you’re curious about how you can manage stress through therapy, read on to learn more about what types of therapy and therapists can help.

While stress itself is a normal part of life, recurring stress that interferes with your daily activities and overall well-being is not. Stress can manifest itself in different ways, including excessive worrying, inability to sleep at night, and body aches.

Stress can take its toll, but therapy can help you manage it better. Some types of therapy may even equip you with strategies to cope with future stress. Below are the most commonly used therapies for stress and related mental health conditions.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for short-term help

CBT is perhaps one of the most common types of therapy available, as it addresses your thought patterns and behaviors. Your therapist will help you identify your stressors, and help you come up with healthier responses to reduce the impact of your triggers.

CBT may be used on either a short-term or long-term basis. This can make it suitable for helping to treat chronic mental health conditions, as well as helping you get through traumatic events and other causes of acute stress.

You may benefit from CBT if you’re concerned about:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • bipolar disorder
  • sleep disorders, such as insomnia
  • phobias
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Psychodynamic therapy

Like CBT, psychodynamic therapy aims to help you identify thought patterns that may dictate behavioral responses. Psychodynamic therapy, however, is used on a more long-term basis. It may be best suited for stress caused by long-standing issues that you have been dealing with, which are intertwined with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy is similar to CBT with its focus on changes in behavior. But unlike CBT, behavioral therapy is more focused on your actions, rather than your thoughts.

According to this type of therapy, your actions are dictated by previous behaviors. By changing your behavioral responses to stress now, you can create new patterns and possibly avoid further stress.

Behavioral therapy tends to work best for long-term triggers of stress, including traumatic events, as well as conditions such as anxiety, phobias, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a technique traditionally used to treat phobias, PTSD, and anxiety disorders. You might benefit from this type of therapy if you have a mental health condition that causes you to avoid certain situations, objects, people, and places.

This type of therapy may also help address chronic stress if you practice avoidance in an effort to avoid more stress. Unfortunately, such avoidance can make stress and anxiety-related disorders worse by making you feel even more uneasy.

Exposure therapy works by allowing your therapist to help gradually expose you to the triggers that you intentionally avoid. The idea is that, over time, you will become accustomed to these fears and become less stressed about them.

Group therapy

In some cases, group therapy may be an option if you’re dealing with an extremely stressful event. Examples include a natural disaster, child loss, divorce, and more. A trained therapist leads sessions, and you may find the group setting allows you to feel empowered and less alone.

Trained psychologists or a psychotherapists are generally the best type of mental health professionals for stress-related therapies. Their mission is to help you identify triggers of stress while collaboratively developing a plan with you to manage them. Psychotherapists are also referred to as “talk therapists.”

When looking for a therapist, you can ask a prospective professional what modalities they specialize in. For example, many talk therapists use CBT, while others might specialize in psychodynamic therapy. Also, some psychotherapists specialize in stress and related mental health conditions such as anxiety.

While psychologists and psychotherapists tend to be the most helpful in assisting their clients with behavioral changes in response to stress, some situations may warrant other types of mental health professionals who also use talk therapy techniques. These include:

  • Psychiatrists, who can also administer mental health medications and have medical training
  • Group counselor, who specializes in working with a small group of people with similar struggles
  • Play therapists for younger children
  • School counselors, who may address stress in school-aged children, as well as college students

No matter which professional you seek stress therapies from, be sure that they are licensed in your state and have the relevant education and experience to help you.

If you feel that stress is starting to interfere with your daily activities, it’s time to reach out for help. The American Psychological Association is a good place to start your online search. Check out their free psychologist locator to find therapists in your state. You can also ask your family doctor for recommendations.

While many insurance companies cover mental health services, it’s important to check with your provider regarding in-network therapists. You’ll also want to check out information regarding co-payments and other fees.

There are affordable therapy options no matter your insurance coverage and budget.

Some therapists don’t take medical insurance due to privacy concerns. You may check to see if they offer sliding scale fees to help off-set your costs. Local clinics, blogs, therapy apps, and virtual sessions may also be less expensive.

It’s important to schedule an initial consultation to gauge your comfort level with your therapist. You may find that it takes a few different therapists until you’ve found the right fit.

Aside from therapy, there are other steps you can take to reduce stress in your everyday life right now. You can start with the following:

  • Exercise regularly. Research shows that even walking for 30 minutes each day can decrease stress and boost your overall mood.
  • Schedule regular relaxation intervals. Do something that relaxes you for at least several minutes a day. Just some ideas include taking a warm bath, gentle yoga stretches, deep breathing exercises, or reading a book.
  • Prevent social isolation. While seeing friends and family for in-person activities can help, even making phone calls or talking virtually can keep you socially connected and reduce your stress.
  • Reassess your priorities. Focus on daily tasks without worrying too much over what you can’t get done. Also, say “no” to unnecessary tasks, and delegate extra work when you start to feel overwhelmed.

The above techniques can work for both chronic and acute forms of stress, and they can complement any therapies you decide to try. If you’re struggling with ongoing stress, see a mental health professional for advice.

Occasional stress isn’t necessarily a cause for concern if you are able to manage it on your own. But if stress interferes with your life on a regular basis and you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to seek help.

Left untreated, ongoing (chronic) stress may contribute to (or worsen) certain mental health conditions, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression.

Unmanaged stress can also have other consequences to your health. These may include digestive ailments, high blood pressure (hypertension), and sleep disorders. Long-term stress is also linked to metabolic disorders.

Therapy can be an invaluable tool for stress, whether you’re going through an unusually tough time or if you’ve been struggling with chronic stress. It can even address stress related to mental health conditions or chronic illnesses.

10 simple methods of art therapy to relieve stress, increase self-esteem, develop creativity

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy based on creativity and self-expression. The approach is used as a means to relieve stress, increase self-esteem and awareness, and for post-traumatic recovery. Most other forms of therapy use verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal barriers. In contrast, art therapy allows for more abstract forms of communication. This tactic involves the expression of elements of the subconscious, for the voicing of which, perhaps, there is no readiness or ability yet. nine0003

You don't have to be an artist to get art therapy. In fact, most of the exercises are not based on the end result that you create, but on the therapeutic effect of the ritual of the creative process itself. If you are intrigued by the possibility of relaxation through artistic imagination, then this set of methods is for you.

Here are 10 simple ways to explore your inner self. Not all of them may be suitable for you, but at least one of these methods in its usefulness will be the artistic equivalent of a long warm, fragrant bath. nine0003


A DIY card that you won't send to anyone

If you have feelings for someone that you're not ready to admit, if you're angry but know it's better to hold back from being angry, try this in detail paint. The writing of the text itself has a therapeutic effect, and designing a postcard enhances it and activates various parts of the brain. When you're done, seal the letter, sign it, and send it to the wastebasket (or push it to the back of your desk drawer), if you find it, the message will lose some of its power. nine0003

2. Draw a picture and create a collage

Draw a picture on paper or cardboard, cut it into pieces or tear it when you're done. Then use the pieces as building blocks for a new work of art - a collage. See how your original creation turns into something new, interesting, unpredictable. This exercise points out the immediate close connection between creation and destruction, encourages us to take risks, and encourages creativity in other aspects of life. nine0003

3. Build an altar for your loved one

Get inspired by folk art and create an altar to celebrate the relationship between you and another person, whether alive or dead. Decorate the shrine with photographs, letters, and relics of times spent together, as well as new art objects you create to celebrate this relationship. Use anything that can be used as art material, from gifts to candy wrappers, if you know it's HIS favorite candy. Building such an altar to another person evokes memories and serves as a physical manifestation of the relationship, which can provide peace of mind during difficult times. nine0003

4. Draw in complete darkness

Much of the stress we suffer from when we are creative comes from criticism and judgment that seems inevitable at every turn. Try to create a work of art in complete darkness to free yourself from that inner art critic that lives in your head. (Think of it as a blind outline drawing.) You are suddenly free to create lines, shapes, and patterns. Turning on the light, most likely, the image will surprise you. nine0003

5. Color your physical condition

Lie down and close your eyes. Visualize your body as you breathe. Try to imagine the color of the air you inhale and the one you exhale. What do you see? Draw the outline of your body on a large piece of paper and paint over it with watercolor based on your physical condition. Think about what these colors mean to you, where they are more concentrated and where they are less. This is your most relaxing self-portrait.

6. Zentangle: drawing-meditation

Zentangle (Zen-tangle, zen-tangle, zen-tangle, zen-tangle) is a drawing method invented by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. It was designed to make drawing meditative and accessible to everyone. You can learn the technique from a knowledgeable specialist or master it yourself. To do this, you need a sheet of paper, in the original a square with a side of 9 cm, along the edges of which you draw a border with a pencil by hand, it can be uneven. Lines are drawn inside the resulting area, the so-called "lines". nine0003

Now switch to the pen and start drawing a series of patterns or repeating patterns around the "string". So you drew a zentangle. The process is designed to stimulate the ritual of creation and leave room for human error - nothing can be erased, these are the rules. Traditionally, zentangles are black and white, but many people approve of experimenting with color. The whole process should take no more than 15 minutes and can be repeated whenever you feel like it. Keep handy 9centimeter squares so that when inspired you can fill them with abstract drawings.

7. Allow Yourself

Think about the social and self-imposed pressures you experience day in and day out, the personal traits you see as flaws, the failures you see as your faults. Choose one of these things and in decorative details, allow yourself to have it. By turning failure into achievement, you can minimize your feelings of self-loathing, which can help you achieve more important goals. Remember this is an art project so make it pretty. nine0003

8. “Write” a poem-collage

Don't you consider yourself a poet? Then let someone else do the hard part, write the words, and you pick up your material from old books, magazines, newspapers, or even letters. Cut out the words that pop up in front of you or inspire you. Arrange them into compositions as if you were making a visual collage. You may have a theme or plot in mind from the very beginning. Or just start working and see where such a verbal collage will lead you. nine0003

9. Create your own unique painting tool

Instead of spending a lot of time painting, why not focus on developing an alternative DIY brush? You can make a marking tool out of just about anything, whether it's a row of toothpicks glued to a cardboard base or a homemade brush out of pompoms and yarn. When you finally make yourself a new drawing tool, you will partially relinquish control over the art, which of course is also a work of art in itself. nine0003

10. Make a box of forgiveness

If there is a person - including yourself - for whom you no longer want to harbor negative emotions, try making a box of forgiveness for him. Decorate it with soothing images and words that can characterize a person or correspond to a desired inner state. You can write on a piece of paper what his name is and put it in this box, if necessary, the name can be removed or replaced. The act of creating the box will promote fond memories of who it is intended for. nine0003

Based on


Art therapy for stress relief | Center "Orange Sun" - certification training programs in psychology, trainings, seminars, psychological consultations in Yekaterinburg

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If you answered "Yes" to at least one question, then art therapy is right for you

Stress is translated from English as: “tension”, “pressure”. These are all things that make us feel "out of our element".

Stress is considered a disease of the present, manifested as a defensive reaction to some event from the outside. You don’t have to go far, you just turn on the TV and you understand that a quiet life is something from the realm of fantasy.

What counts as stress is an individual matter, but rather a decision. For some, this is a favorite dress hopelessly spoiled at a party, for someone, a dismissal or moving to another city. And the point here is not the intensity of the impact, but how a person reacts to it. nine0003

Life is a series of successful and unsuccessful events, while some people walk through it laughing, with a confident free gait, while others, shrinking tensely, go frowningly under their feet.


Stress is dangerous for its consequences:

• depression, irascibility, irritability;
• decreased concentration, forgetfulness;
• trouble falling asleep, insomnia, shallow, short sleep;
• lack of appetite or, conversely, increased absorption of food on the background of experiences; nine0082 • apathy, indifference to bright events in life.

Severe or prolonged stress can lead to psychosomatic diseases of various systems and organs, such as diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, pressure problems, etc.

Art therapy for stress relief

In stress management, art therapy is perhaps one of the leading roles. Techniques for working with stress can be divided into two groups:

1. Resource techniques where you express yourself creatively and relax.
2. Techniques for working with negative emotions, in the course of which the negative comes out on paper, plasticine, clay, and then work with it is carried out for transformation and processing.

Materials for work, that in the first, that in the second group can be the same - paints, clay, sand, paper, and then everything depends on the chosen technique and context.

Unlike just dancing, drawing or clay modeling, art therapy in the same directions is a process of creativity under the supervision of a psychologist, and both the process and the end result are important here. nine0003

Everything that happens to a person during creative practice can serve as material for further work, a hint about where he is now, what problem he came with and what resources he needs.

The advantages of art therapy work can be divided into the following areas:

1) Know yourself

Art therapy helps to understand and accept your inner world, your abilities and characteristics, inclinations, desires and interests. Creativity gives a state of harmony with oneself, and if the world is inside, then it will be outside. nine0003

2) Unleash your potential

This is what worries every person: who am I, what am I, where am I going - eternal questions that are relevant for different ages. Sooner or later, the question arises: “what is my purpose?” To be needed, in demand, to be realized in creativity is one of the basic human needs. Art therapy helps to look deeper into yourself and understand true desires.

3) Get to know the world around

Creativity helps to get out of the "comfort zone", expands the boundaries and makes it possible to look at oneself and the world from a different perspective. Art therapy does not require special skills and abilities and is available to a person at any age and with any opportunity. nine0003

4) Express emotions

Creativity allows you to express a wide range of emotional experiences. Much of what you do not want to say can be expressed in movement, in color, in sound. After a storm of emotions randomly settled on a sheet of paper, and then miraculously transformed into something beautiful, the soul becomes lighter and brighter. Art therapy teaches to express emotions, to accept them, to move from one state to another.

5) Fighting stress

Excessive demands on oneself, lack of positive emotions contribute to the emergence of stressful conditions. nine0003

Creating something new and beautiful gives a state of joy and inspiration, and a positive attitude allows you to look at the world with a smile and problems immediately decrease in size.

You can find a lot of art therapy techniques on the Internet for specialists and non-specialists.

Learn more