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Art as a Coping Skill for Stress

By June 18, 2020December 8th, 2023No Comments

A while back we talked about using a journal as a coping skill and now we are going to turn our attention to art. So many people (kids AND grown-ups, BTW) say, “I’m not an artist” and therefore, eliminate art as something that could be very useful to them as a coping skill. Let’s pretend for just a few moments right now that it doesn’t matter how artistic you are or aren’t for this coping skill to work for you.

HINT: It’s doesn’t matter – at all.

There are lots of types of art we could talk about but today I’m going to choose ART JOURNALING. This is something that is super powerful and but also very simple to do. The first time I tried it I was hooked for good.

“The beauty of an art journal is that anything goes. It’s a no holds barred space where I can express and explore my feelings through images, writing, and just playful mark making. It’s a healthy, expressive outlet at the end of the day and one of my best coping skills.” ~ Amy Maricle, Artist who owns [Visit by following this link:]

I truly suggest that you check out Amy Maricle’s site – highly recommended. She has amazing ideas. Her last name should be “Miracle”.


To get started you will need a journal. This is where it gets really fun because an art journal can be ANY kind of book. You can do art on top of old books that are no longer being used (like atlases and dictionaries). You can also buy a sketch book or use an old wall calendar. You’re going to cover it so it only matters to the extent of the supplies you plan to use. If you’re planning to use acrylic paint and magazine images for collage then any book will do. If you’re going to sketch or watercolor then you may want to choose more carefully. All depends and it’s all up to you.


Now we get into even more fun because anything that can be glued down can be used. Which reminds me – you will need traditional glue and scissors and things like that. I like to page through old books and magazines. Sometimes I rip apart my old journals, junk mail, old maps or pages of bad poetry I’ve written. I use colored paper from the scrapbook section in the craft store. Occasionally I will use stamps. I use paint, pencils, markers and more. It’s pretty much whatever I have laying around and nearby.


You want me to be totally honest with you? The big fancy technique is just to PLAY with the supplies. Move them around like puzzle pieces on the page. Maybe glue them down if you like where they are. Color or paint on top of them if you feel like it – or not. Write words over top of them if you want to or cross out words that are showing. The technique is really just to sit back and not worry about the end result. The PROCESS is more important than the PRODUCT. You just go with the flow. Every page is completely different.

There’s really only one rule I have for you. The art journaling page you’ve just worked on is in a book for a reason. Don’t throw it away. DON’T.

Just like with regular journaling you have the ability to look back over time and see the progress of your journey. You don’t want to lose that page. It may seem ugly or insignificant now, but later on it could be a really important part of your story. It’s a coping skill and its part of your process. Don’t ignore it or get rid of it.

Art journaling is only one way art can be used as a coping skill. We may revisit this topic in the future and share more ideas. For now, your summer homework is to find a book and fun supplies and give it a try!