Dec 17th, 2023, 01:00 PM

The Therapeutic Power of Art

By Johanna Sletten Larsson
Image Credit: Johanna Sletten Larsson
Connect with Friends and Unleash Your Creativity

As students living in Paris, we are all familiar with Paris FOMO (fear of missing out). It's common to feel like we constantly have to go out and experience Paris. In today’s technology-driven world, it is also easy for us to get caught up in scrolling on TikTok for hours, neglecting the outside world. All of this can be overwhelming—constantly feeling like you have to catch up with your friends can foster stress and guilt. As young adults, we already feel an enormous amount of pressure, especially for those far from home, which is why friendships are so important at this point in our lives.

Engaging in creative activities with friends can be a powerful way to boost your mental and emotional well-being, strengthen relationships and create a sense of community. Getting creative can offer both mental and physical health benefits, such as reducing stress and anxiety, boosting creativity and innovation and much more. In more recent years, art therapy has become a trend. It’s a form of therapy that uses art as a form of self-expression and exploration. It can help people process difficult emotions and increase self-awareness. Art therapy is also an amazing way to strengthen relationships and connect with the people around you in a safe, relaxing environment.

Next time you’re feeling upset about something, uninspired or overall overwhelmed with life, try inviting a friend over to do some arts and crafts. You will not only be able to create something fun, but you will also be able to open up more and build a connection. There are multiple ways to get creative and by doing so you will feel a lot more at ease, build stronger relationships and it’s a good way to avoid time in front of a screen or spending too much money at an overpriced restaurant.

Simply spending time together and creating something together can be a powerful way to connect with friends and foster a sense of community. It is important to remember that whatever you do doesn’t have to be perfect—leave the high expectations outside and have fun. Here are 3 examples of creative activities you can do with friends:

Painting: Painting might seem scary, but once you get the right supplies, you’re going to have a lot of fun. A recommendation is to buy small canvases. Depending on what you paint, these can be painted in just thirty minutes. By buying multiple, you can ask a new friend to paint a canvas every time they come over, or when you hit a milestone, such as trying snails for the first time in Paris, you can paint that experience. After a while, you will have a diary of small canvases to hang on your wall. The supplies you’ll need are:

  • Paint brushes, four will be enough. 
  • Paint, you can buy a small pack of eight primary colors and mix in order to get your desired colors. 
  • Palette, a small plastic one works, but you could also simply use a paper plate to mix your colors. 
  • Canvases, you can buy 10x10cm canvases at Sostrene Grene for 0,84 euro. 
  • Cup for water, take an old jam jar and clean it out in order to not stain your own glasses.

Image Credit: Johanna Sletten Larsson

Scrapbooking: By buying a book with blank pages, you can create a fun scrapbook that you will look back on for years. You can either make a shared one with your friends or have your own. You can fill page after page with pictures you’ve taken on your phone or a disposable camera. This is a way of getting the pictures you have stored in your camera roll that only get looked through on long flights and transferring them to a book that you can bring with you and work on for years. If worked on long enough, you will have a scrapbook that has doodles and pictures from years ago. The supplies you’ll need are: 

  • A blank book, these can be bought at a stationary store. 
  • Access to a printer, if you have pictures on your phone all that’s left to do it print them, if you’re using a disposable camera then you’ll need access to a development store.  
  • Colorful pens, markers and stickers, this is where you can really get creative and fill the empty space with doodles or details of the picture. 
  • Scissors and glue. 

Image Credit: Johanna Sletten Larsson

Friendship bracelets: Nothing says bonding like making friendship bracelets together. You can make bracelets for both your friends and yourself, and if you’re feeling brave, you can make bracelets to give cute strangers at bars. Even if you never end up distributing them, it’ll be a good laugh with your friends trying to figure out the wrist size for a bracelet that says, "U R HOT." There are so many beads to choose from, and you can create beautiful pieces of jewelry to be able to gift your loved ones. The supplies you’ll need are:

  • String, stretchy string is a good option if you’re making a bracelet for someone else since you won’t know their exact measurements.
  • Beads, lettered beads and plain colorful beads are a good start. 

Image Credit: Johanna Sletten Larsson

These are only some of many ways to get creative with your friends, other ideas include making vision boards, learning to crochet, or painting wine glasses. The goal with art therapy is to open up and connect, which is why all of these ideas are also great date ideas. If you want to build a deeper connection with your partner, or if you’re dating someone new and wanting to get to know them better, doing an arts and crafts activity is a great way to build a relationship and have fun.

Remember, the most important thing is to spend time with your friends and enjoy each other's company. The creative process is a journey, not a destination. So, relax, grab your friends, gather some supplies, have fun and let your creativity shine through. You may be surprised at how much fun you'll have and how much better you'll feel afterward.