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  • Writer's pictureJuli Fisgus

An Art Therapy Technique to Soothe Your Nerves

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

Anxiety is often fueled by the stories we tell ourselves. The stories we create are tales that start with "What if..." and often include elements of our insecurities and worst fears. If left unchecked, our stories can take us to some pretty dark places.

Here is a calming art therapy activity that will help you redirect your imagination in a better direction. Plus, it's just fun.


Watercolors – nothing fancy – the watercolors you find in the school supplies section at the store work just fine. Before you start, add a few drops of water to each color.

Paintbrush – the one that comes with the watercolors is OK, but a brush made for watercolors will yield better results.

Paper – ideally, watercolor paper, but anything with a little thickness and absorbency (like paper for mixed media projects) will do. Construction paper or copier paper will not work for this activity.

Water – of course

Calming music – your choice

Note: There are no mistakes for this free form art activity. Your inner critic needs to keep its yapper shut.


-Take a few deep breaths.

-Brush some water onto your paper in an interesting shape.

-Dip your brush into a color and then touch the brush to the wet spot on the paper. Watch the color travel from your brush to the paper.

-Repeat with the same color, or try adding different colors to different parts of the shape.

-Experiment with the amount of water and paint that you use. You'll find that if you use more water, it will pool and make the paper buckle, but will create some interesting effects as is dries.

Pause frequently through this activity to notice how the colors move and change. Take deep breaths. Repeat this process all over your paper, or as much as you would like.


-While the paint is wet, sprinkle salt on the paper and watch the water draw close to the salt grains and the pigments move. As the watercolor dries, you'll see interesting effects.

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