Art Therapist Teaches Stress Reduction Through Creative Expression

 

Last Friday, March 10, UNO disability awareness agency (NDA) hosted the first ever “Art Against Anxiety” event to raise awareness for disability awareness month.

About one in every five adults in America experience a mental health illness. Anxiety is categorized as a psychological disorder and is one of the most common in college-age students.

At the event, a licensed art therapist taught a group of fifteen students creative ways to reduce stress. The artist taught students how to use oil pastels to create a visual journal and colorful mandala art.

Mandala means “circle” in the language of Hinduism and is meant to represent universal wholeness and a spiritual connection. The process of creating mandalas can be a very calming activity in times of stress.

The art therapist walked the class through an art meditation sequence to allow the drawing to become a more calming and creative experience. Stephanie Hengen, disability awareness agency (NDA) advisor says

“She had on relaxing music in the background and we did all sorts of different techniques and she walked us through a meditation.”

Hengen says that these kinds of events are a big step at UNO and thinks that stress relief is something very valuable to educate students on, whether or not they experience diagnosed anxiety.

“I think that it is very important, it doesn’t need to be something that takes a lot of time, but is specific to that person.”

With the UNO School of Communication, I’m Cassidy Conrad.

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