The Best Skin Care Regimen for Summer

You have made it past the snow shoveling and rain showers – summer is here and you are ready to revel in its warmth and sunshine. Before you do though, you should consider how the extra hours in the sun can impact your skin. Aside from the occasional summer sun burn, UV rays can also accelerate some common signs of skin aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin. And, the humidity and hot temperatures can also contribute to some summer skin issues too, like extra oil and shine. Take care of your skin to foster your most beautiful summer skin all season long by following the best skin regimen for the hot, sunny months ahead.

Cleanse twice a day. 
When the air is hot and humid, your skin may experience more oil than usual. You also may find that you sweat more now compared to previous spring months that were on the milder side. The best skin care regimen to help keep summer skin matte, yet moisturized, should include cleansing twice daily with a foaming or gel-based face wash. First thing in the morning, wash away oil and sweat that can build up on your skin’s surface overnight. And, before bed, remove makeup and then cleanse your skin with your regular face wash.

Find a gentle glycolic acid exfoliating pad you can use regularly.
Your summer skin can produce excess oil, but it can also look dry and dull if you don’t exfoliate regularly. Exfoliating regularly is a part of the best skin care regimen for summer, because you can help foster the look of naturally glowing skin. A chemical exfoliating pad formulated with glycolic acid will not only help dissolve away excess oil, but also the pile up of dead skin cells on skin’s surface that can cause the look of dull, lackluster skin. Some chemical exfoliating pads with glycolic acid are even gentle enough to use on a daily basis. That being said, even though glycolic acid chemical exfoliants are typically okay to use if you have sensitive skin, you may still want to consult with your dermatologist before making a glycolic acid peel pad a regular part of your skin care routine.

Apply a daytime moisturizer with SPF.
A heavy day cream can mix with the sweat and oil that collects on your skin’s surface throughout the day. So, consider looking for a lightweight moisturizing formula that will absorb quickly and therefore be less likely to mix with that surface build up. Also, your daytime moisturizer should protect your skin with broad spectrum SPF protection. You’ll want to shield your summer skin from both UVA and UVB rays so that it is better protected from burns and some skin aging factors.

Use a wash-off self-tanner.
To get glowing summer skin consider using a self-tanner as a part of your summer skin care regimen. If you use a wash-off self-tanning option you won’t have to commit to the tan or worry about it fading overtime – you can apply a fresh tan each day, or whenever you want to look a little extra bronzed.

Moisturize at night.
Replenish skin with a concentrated dose of hydration while you sleep. Consider trying a face cream formulated with aloe water, the hydrating ingredient can deliver much-needed moisture to summer skin that has been out in the sun.

The best skin care regimen this season will include cleansing and moisturizing in the morning and night, regular exfoliation with products formulated with glycolic acid and achieving the look of a natural tan so that you have summer skin that is not only glowing, but protected and nourished too.

9 Reasons Why Sports Are Valuable for Our Children to Play

You probably already know the answer to that question. We’ve been hearing for years that youth sports build character, persistence and teamwork. I’d like to get a bit deeper and explain nine very specific reasons why I am glad my three 20-something kids played sports from preschool through college.

Today, as I see them react to challenges in their workplaces and in relationships, I am very grateful for these lessons they learned through competition:REAL LIFE. REAL NEWS. REAL VOICES.Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.

1. Dealing with difficult people.

In youth sports, it was difficult coaches and teammates. In the real world, it’s coworkers
or neighbors or even in-laws.

My son has dealt with coworkers who remind him of arrogant high school teammates. His sports experiences gave him the ability to see past the annoying behavior and seek to understand.

2. Doing a job under pressure.

Recently, when my son faced pressure at his job, I knew he would stay calm. As a high school and college quarterback, he led his team and it was imperative he stay calm under pressure.

It’s hard on Mom and Dad to watch their kids play under stress, but that pressure is a breeding ground for growing the ability to stay calm when they grow up and life throws them curve balls.

3. Sticking with a hard task.

In youth sports, your child can learn to keep working towards a goal, even when it feels hopeless. I see this daily in my daughter, who is working hard to achieve a personal goal in her life. She has faced numerous setbacks, but she will not give up.

That type of persistence is only learned as one faces and works through challenges. She learned this as she fought for playing time in middle and high school basketball and for her coveted libero spot in high school volleyball.

4. Ignoring Doubters.

There will always be naysayers and haters. We heard them when my husband coached or my kids played on losing teams. We heard them when kids made mistakes and parents struggled to believe in their abilities. Our kids heard them from teammates who second-guessed each other.

If your kids learn to ignore the negative voices in sports, they will be ready to do the same in life.

5. Understanding the Boss (i.e. Coach)

My kids had coaches who were difficult to read. The admonition of seeking to understand was preached over and over in our home and our kids are still practicing it today.

We told them their job was to strive to understand what the coach wanted and needed them to do, even if he wasn’t clear in his instruction. This endeavor to try to understand others before judging will help them through many relational and workplace problems.

6. Expressing needs and wants.

When you insist that your child confront the coach himself instead of jumping in to do battle for him, he learns to express concerns to a person of authority. I see how our kids have become confident communicators because we didn’t do their talking for them.

7. Exercising patience with people who can’t keep up.

There was always a player who needed help on my kids’ teams, someone who struggled to keep up. As adults, my kids are able to give encouragement and compassion to coworkers, friends, or neighbors who can’t quite keep up in life. I have no doubt that they learned this partly in the youth sports arena.

8. Respecting and benefitting from the strengths of others.

The ability to appreciate the skills of others and support their talents makes for a great team player, in the game, in the office, in the home.

9. Finding Worth.

Your child can learn that he is defined by who he is, not by what he does.

When integrity, honesty and hard work become the true measure of a champion, and not just stats, trophies and accolades, then your kids will not base their self-esteem on performance — in the game or in life — but on who they know themselves to be on the inside.

I miss watching my kids play sports. Even watching my daughter coach softball is just not the same. But as I see them apply their sports lessons to the real world as adults, I feel like a proud mom watching from the stands all over again.

4 Ways to Avoid a Misspent Life

Have you heard the saying, a perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life? Well, one look at my house and you’ll know that’s one thing I am not guilty of! I am not a good housekeeper by nature, and also by intent. Many days, I’ll leave the laundry unfolded and hang out with my kids instead. Because as long as everyone in the family has clean underwear, what else do they really need?

I do understand that finding balance between taking care of life’s duties and spending time with our children is important, but when in doubt, choose the kids over the duties. Here are 4 ways to avoid a misspent life.

1. Choose the kids daily.

What we do daily makes up the fabric of our family life. If you’ve gone too long without couch time with your children, a family meal, or play time with your kids, stop what you’re doing and seek them out. You don’t have to plan something big every day; just put aside your chores (or your screen) at least a portion of every 24 hours to focus on your children.What we do daily makes up the fabric of our family life.

2. Choose the house when clutter takes over.

If things have reached the point where clutter is making you and your family feel claustrophobic, tackle it. Better yet, use the “little by little each day” method. Get your kids to help. Set a timer for 30 minutes, assign areas for each child, and have at it. When you’re finished, celebrate.

3. Choose the kids when they’re in need.

Does this sound familiar: On the very day you’ve planned to clean your house and catch up, one of your children needs your full attention, even more than usual. Instead of getting irritated at the interruption, take a deep breath and regroup. Give your child the time and care he needs and whittle down your cleaning list to only the most important must-dos.

4. Choose the house if your husband is going crazy.

In my marriage, I am the messy one and my husband is the neat one. Disorder drives him to distraction and clutter makes him cranky. He cuts me slack, most of the time, but I try to speak his unofficial love language — a clean house — when he’s reached his limit. I’ve also explained to him that our home will never be show-house ready, but our kids will sure feel loved.

The One-Hour No Screen Family Challenge

This challenge might be a breeze to you and your family. If so, great! The challenge is this: spend one hour a day as a family away from all screens, for seven days. That’s a one hour a day screen free week. That includes phones, iPads, laptops, and video games. Zero devices for 60 minutes. And, small devices like phones and computers get put away, out of sight, and not in anyone’s pockets or clothing that they’re wearing. The Challenge will do wonders for your family. So are you up for it?

We have a printable for you to keep track of how you do during the challenge and some ideas on how to spend your hour. The printable has space for each family member to sign their name and commit to the challenge. Then, after each day you complete, each person initials it. You can present the one-hour challenge to your kids as something that might be difficult, but doable. Before you start the challenge come up with a family celebration you can all take part in once the seven days are over. Before you start your hour, gather everyone together in the same place. Get dramatic. Set the kitchen timer and say together, “On your mark! Get set! No screens!”

And, we have 10 ways to spend your screen-free time.

Bake or Cook Together.

Reading Fort. Have the kids help you build a fort where everyone climbs into, or under, and reads.

Paint Together. Paint a picture of the same object and compare them.

Play Board Games. Catan is a great one for older kids, as well as Scattergories and Boggle. Try Cariboo for preschoolers and Hungry Hippo.

Make Something.

Go Outside. Take a walk or go for a bike ride.

Get Sweets. Go for ice cream or smoothies.

Get Bored. It can actually fuel creativity and camaraderie as you all deal with it together.

20 Pillow Talk Questions for You and Your Child

Before you tell your children good night, ask them a Pillow Talk question.  I started doing Pillow Talks with my children when they were very young.

These conversation starters are a great way to connect with your child at a heart level, instead of at the “do this, do that” level where we engage with our children during most of the day.

And, if you’d rather connect before bedtime, here are 15 more ways to use these conversation starters. Here are 20 engaging pillow talk questions for you and your child.

  1. What do you like to dream about?
  2. What is your best memory this school year?
  3. Who is your hero? Why?
  4. How would you describe your family?
  5. If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
  6. What are you most proud of yourself for?
  7. Who is the kindest person you know? Why?
  8. What do you like most about your best friend?
  9. What is one thing you would like to learn to do well?
  10. If you were an animal, what one would you be and why?
  11. When is the last time someone hurt your feelings? How did you react?
  12. Do you know someone who is going through a hard time? How can you help them?
  13. What is the scariest thing that happened this year?
  14. If you could keep only one thing, out of everything you have, what would it be?
  15. Who do you think is really successful? Why?
  16. What’s the best thing about your teacher this year?
  17. When do you feel misunderstood by grown-ups?
  18. What three words best describe you?
  19. What’s something that makes you angry?
  20. What’s the best compliment you ever received?

3 Bedtime No No’s for Moms

It’s the end of a long day. All you want to do is get your kids to bed quick and watch your favorite show, talk to your husband, or just have some alone time. You have been running all day taking care of everyone and you’re just done. They are finally down and as you are headed to the living room you hear, “Mooooooom!” and you want to scream.

We get it. Bedtime can be hard on moms. We’re tired, and our patience has just about run out. But bedtime is such an important time for children, and it’s such a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child. Your bedtime routine can be a really sweet moment of the day, even with the rituals and needs of our children. The key is realizing that even though you’re tired, mustering just a little more patience will help you keep bedtime peaceful and loving. And be sure to avoid these 3 Bedtime No No’s for Moms

1. Never discipline at bedtime.

Yes, you can correct and guide, but this is not the time to get into heavy discipline. Remember, your children are tired too and their behavior reserve is running low. Even if they’re fighting you at bedtime, don’t lose your temper. The goal is to send them off to sleep peacefully.

2. Never leave without showing love.

When you feel too tired to spend an extra 30 seconds hugging your child or tucking them in, you’re tired! But find a last bit of energy to spend the last moments with your child in loving routines.

3. Never let your grouchiness show.

This can require a major dose of effort on your part. It can be very easy to let your annoyance show when your child asks for another glass of water or realizes that she forgot to brush her teeth. Just take a deep breath and remember that you’re trying to send your child off to dreamland in a calm, peaceful mood.Just take a deep breath and remember that you’re trying to send your child off to dreamland in a calm, peaceful mood.

7 Bedtime Helps For Kids

My youngest is a night owl. She seems to pick up energy in the evening, right when I’m most tired and most ready for all the kids to be in bed. It’s not all her fault — she’s had a much less consistent evening routine than my older kids had. We’re out several evenings a week for sports and activities and when her older siblings stay up with friends or to study, she naturally wants to stay up as well.

But sleep is so important to our children’s health. If, like me, you want to get back to a good bedtime routine, here are 7 tips for kids’ bedtime.

1. Ensure kids are getting enough sleep.

How much sleep is enough given your child’s age and wake-up time? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 9-12 hours of sleep each night for kids between 6 and 12 years and 8-10 hours of sleep each night for kids aged 13- to 18-years-old. With early wake-ups for school, parents need to make sure kids are going to bed early enough to have a full night of uninterrupted sleep.

2. Keep a quiet hour before bedtime.

Once children are staying up later, allowing them to go into their rooms to read or do a quiet activity can help their mind and bodies wind down toward bedtime. My mom told us we could either go to bed or stay up an hour later and read. Which do you think we chose? This quiet time also allows parents to have evenings together without kids to reconnect.

3. Limit screens at night.

Computers, phones, gaming and even some television can keep kids wired so that falling asleep is more difficult. Have kids turn their cell phones over to parents and keep computers and gaming devices in family spaces.

4. Choose evening extracurriculars carefully.

Too many evenings out coupled with early wake ups means my kids aren’t getting enough sleep. We’ve learned to choose our extracurricular activities carefully, trying to limit those that keep kids out late on weekday nights.

5. Establish a routine.

A bedtime routine helps prepare kids mentally and physically for sleep. Kids know what to expect so there is less complaining and pushback at bedtime. Our routine starts after dinner with baths, brushing teeth (the kitchen is closed), a prayer and then reading, listening to audio books, or playing quietly until bedtime.

6. Keep the lights out.

This has been a hard one for us because I raised babies on night lights. But research shows darkness is critical to a good night’s sleep. Consider starting bedtime out with a night light and then turning it off before you go to bed or keeping the nightlight in a hallway or bathroom.

7. Watch what they eat.

Make sure kids aren’t getting chocolate or caffeine before bedtime. And apparently your grandmother was right — warm milk can help us get to sleep because it contains tryptophan, a sleep-inducing amino acid.

3 Ways to Make Your Kids Smarter

When my kids were babies I remember someone telling us about a great pre-school that was right near my husband’s office. When I went over to enroll them the person helping me was exasperated and said, “You’re just trying to enroll them now?! We have a very long wait list. You really should have put them on that list two years ago.” I couldn’t believe she was serious. She was talking to me as if my kids not getting into this particular pre-school would ruin their lives.

Clearly, parents are in a race to have smart kids. Sometimes, a mom can start thinking that her child doesn’t have time to just be a kid – there’s too much to learn and too much to do. Well, take a deep breath. Helping your child become smarter starts with keeping things simple.

1. Don’t Move to Chapter Books too Quickly

So, your toddler or pre-schooler is very advanced. You don’t want them to be bored with picture books, so you push them to get interested in chapter books because that’s what smart kids read, right? Before you fast-track them through the Frog and Toad series, listen to what the experts said about the benefits of picture books, in an article in The New York Times:

Literacy experts are quick to say that picture books are not for dummies. Publishers praise the picture book for the particular way it can develop a child’s critical thinking skills.

“To some degree, picture books force an analog way of thinking,” said Karen Lotz, the publisher of Candlewick Press in Somerville, Mass. “From picture to picture, as the reader interacts with the book, their imagination is filling in the missing themes.”

Many parents overlook the fact that chapter books, even though they have more text, full paragraphs and fewer pictures, are not necessarily more complex.

“Some of the vocabulary in a picture book is much more challenging than in a chapter book,” said Kris Vreeland, a book buyer for Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., where sales of picture books have been down. “The words themselves, and the concepts, can be very sophisticated in a picture book.”

2. Less Screen Time, More Real-life Time

Dr. Walt Larimore quotes a leading expert on his blog, who puts it this way:

“If Baby Einstein had been called ‘Couch Potato Kiddie,’ and the marketing had been ‘Get your child started on the joys of watching television as early as possible,’ that would have been honest marketing, and that really is what parents are buying.” 

Dr. Walt also quotes studies that show babies who watch the videos are less verbally proficient than those who do not. Researchers found that for every hour that an infant between 8 to 16 months old spends watching a brain DVD, he understands, on average, 6 to 8 fewer words than a kid who didn’t do Einstein.

Bottom line – babies and young children need real-life experiences, that’s what expands their mind, not watching cartoon figures waltz across the screen to classical music. The same goes for older children. If you want smart kids, get them away from screen-time and into play time, reading time or a physically active time.Babies and young children need real-life experiences.

3. Don’t Let the iPhone Fool You(Or, for older kids, don’t be afraid to limit their screen time)

iPhones and smartphones have been a great help to moms. The apps can keep you organized and it’s convenient to have the Internet at your fingertips. But, isn’t it just a little too easy to hand over your phone to your child to keep them quiet or occupied? And, it might impress you that your child can figure out the intricacies of a cell phone, but that won’t help make them smarter in the real world.

Even educational games, according to one expert, should be avoided:

“Any parent who thinks a spelling program is educational for that age is missing the whole idea of how the preschool brain grows. What children need at that age is whole body movement, the manipulation of lots of objects and not some opaque technology. You’re not learning to read by lining up the letters in the word ‘cat.’ You’re learning to read by understanding language, by listening. Here the parent busily doing something and the kid is playing with the electronic device. Where is the language? There is none.” Jane M. Healy, educational psychologist

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children under the age of two should have no screen time. Why? Children learn and grow by observing and interacting with the real world. If a child is locked into a phone screen, he might miss the real forest while looking at the fake trees on a screen.

The Benefits Of Anxiety Art Therapy

When we think of art therapy, many of us refer back to images of young children in a room with a counselor drawing their feelings. But, in reality, the benefits of art therapy doesn’t stop at age 10, 12, or 16. Art therapy is an effective tool used alone or in conjunction with other treatment for a variety of challenges, including anxiety.

Most artists may say that part of the reason they create is that it gives them an emotional outlet. While almost all of us create in some way as children, many of us cease to do so as we grow older. But, in reality, art is an incredibly useful tool for self-expression, especially when talk therapy is difficult.

What Is Art Therapy?

According to Art therapist, Jess Kimmel, MSAT, LLPC, art therapy “is a modality of mental health treatment that relies on metaphor and introspection.” Therapists usually mix art therapy and more traditional methods through the course of treatment to provide their clients with optimal opportunities for self-expression.

Anxiety Art Therapy

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by “persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things,” according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). People living with GAD find their worry incredibly hard to control, so much so that their everyday lives become very challenging. It can make the simplest of tasks difficult.

Anxiety Art therapy is one way for people living with GAD to express the intensity of this worry when words are not enough. Using a different sense of the body to express nuanced emotion helps the message come through in a clearer way.

Anxiety art therapy is not about the technical component of making art. No skill is required. All that is required by the client is that they create. Feelings naturally fall onto the art through no direct intention.

Benefits

Anxiety art therapy has long been a popular tool used in conjunction with more traditional therapy methods because of its many benefits. It serves as an alternate mode of communication, it centers thoughts, breaks the cycle of rumination, gives dialogue direction, eases nervous clients, and provides an overall soothing, calming effect. The evidence of this latter point can easily be seen in the increasing number of adult coloring books that have been popping up in stores throughout the country.

Supplements/Complements Verbal Expression

Some people suffering from anxiety and depression are also very introverted. Introverts may feel less comfortable opening up, especially if they are still in the early stages of forming a relationship with a particular therapist. Anxiety art therapy is one way clients can express how they are feeling at a given moment easily without having to struggle to articulate them in words.

Another obstacle facing talk therapy is the reproduction of the catalyst behind anxiety related symptoms like panic attacks. Because the exact cause of the panic attack may be hard to pinpoint or verbalize, anxiety art therapy helps to “cognitively restructure” the attack without the need to articulate it verbally.

Improves Physical Health

A study published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science examined the effects of mindfulness-based art therapy conducted with patients suffering from both Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and anxiety and depression.

Researchers found that a significant number of patients participating in the study reported reduced feelings of depression and anxiety as a result of the therapy in addition to reduced body mass index and significantly reduced blood pressure.

From this examination, researchers found that this type of therapy “induces changes in essential physiological factors that are easily affected by emotions, such as breathing synchrony and heart rate, and also boosts satisfaction among patients through physical integration.”

Interrupts The Cycle Of Rumination

Ruminating on past events or sources of worry can be one of the major contributing factors to Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Rumination can be thought of a repeated cycle of thinking about a single instance or memory. The cycle is hard to break, and if it is broken, it can be returned to easily.

Anxiety art therapy engages other senses that require the mind to turn its attention away from the cycle of rumination and towards the present. By engaging the mind to visualize and create something with the hands, it has less ability to devote as much power to the thought or memory on which the mind is ruminating.

Provides A Dialogue Direction

Sometimes talk therapy alone can be difficult between client and patient if the client is having a hard time determining exactly what he/she is feeling. Clients may feel uncomfortable opening up completely in a verbal way. Or they may want to verbalize how they’re feeling but have a hard time doing so.

By engaging in anxiety art therapy, a client can express themselves using a different means of communication. Through their art, a therapist can find launching points to explore more deeply that they may not have been able to identify with a more traditional form of therapy.

Eases Nervous Clients

Someone dealing with anxiety may already feel very apprehensive about talking to a therapist in the first place. Getting them to walk through the door or even make eye contact can be incredibly tough for some people who are particularly anxious. Sessions may pass before a client begins to feel even remotely comfortable opening up about their feelings.

Anxiety Art therapy is one way to make a tough situation a little more tolerable. It creates an opportunity for a client to focus their attention on the task at hand and less on the uncomfortable position they find themselves in.

At the same time, therapists can use anxiety art therapy to help initiate the conversation with a client that may have otherwise taken much longer to begin thereby giving them a jumpstart on the road to progress, and giving the client access to some help more quickly.

Centers The Mind And Focuses Thoughts

According to the American Public Health Association, “There is evidence that engagement with artistic activities, either as an observer of the creative efforts of others or as an initiator of one’s creative efforts, can enhance one’s moods, emotions, and other psychological states as well as have a salient impact on important physiological parameters.”

People dealing with anxiety may also be struggling with a restless mind, which can leave one feeling off balance and uneasy. Engagement in anxiety art therapy, no matter if it’s through a simple drawing, or creating something a little more complex, can help reduce these negative feelings and introduce relative calm during a therapeutic session.

Can Be Integrated With Other Therapies

Anxiety art therapy can easily be integrated with other therapeutic approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and interpersonal therapy.

When used in conjunction with other modes of therapy, both therapy types can complement each other and serve as a propellent forward when a tough crossroads is encountered.

Luckily, given the technological capabilities we enjoy, therapy options have opened up widely. For those of us dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, we can seek help in myriad ways to include face to face counseling, in-person group counseling, mobile apps, texting services, or telemental health services.

The Importance Of Anxiety Art Therapy

Whether used alone or in conjunction with another form, anxiety art therapy can be very helpful to someone who is living with anxiety. Feeling anxious on a near constant basis that’s above normal expectations can be incredibly disruptive to anyone trying to feel normal. Dealing with anxiety by yourself can make matters feel even worse.

Seeking help from others, especially those who are trained and experienced in listening, understanding, and helping can go a long way in helping you feel like you’re on the road to a more normal, better sense of self.

Anxiety art therapy is just one of the many ways licensed professionals can help someone who is struggling with their anxiety.

  • It’s a way to express your feelings without having to articulate them solely with words.
  • The process of creating art has direct physiological effects that counteract the detrimental physical consequences anxiety brings about.
  • It is one tool that you can use to interrupt a nagging and destructive cycle of rumination on past events or negative thoughts.
  • Anxiety art therapy helps you show your therapist your feelings without talking about them, thereby giving him/her a direction in which to take further assistance.
  • It centers and focuses your mind on the present, giving you relief from anxious thoughts and feelings
  • It’s easily integrated into other therapies so that you and your therapist can come up with a custom-made plan
  • Anxiety art therapy can help you feel comfortable in what can be at first a very uncomfortable situation.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to speak to a professional to find some relief. Therapy can come in a variety of ways and means, whether it be in person, over the internet, or on the phone.

Treating Anxiety With Art Therapy

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by persistent and frequently unexpected panic attacks. These attacks are marked by a mix of physical and cognitive symptoms, such as sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, and fearful thoughts.

Fearful perceptions about panic attacks can become so severe that you may develop avoidance behaviors. These avoidance behaviors develop into a separate and commonly co-occurring condition known as agoraphobia, which causes you to stay away from environments or situations that may trigger a panic attack.

Panic disorder is a treatable condition and there are several different treatment options. When considering therapy, most people envision traditional “talk therapy” or psychotherapy in which the qualified professional and client meet to discuss symptoms and develop goals. However, artistic endeavors also offer a form of therapeutic healing.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy involves the use of art to promote health and wellness. The creative process is based on the belief that self-expression can help you resolve inner conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, lessen stress, and increase your self-awareness. 

The use of art therapy for mental health purposes originated during the 1950s when it was found that art-making could assist in healing and coping with symptoms. During the art therapy process, a trained specialist guides the client’s experience through the use of counseling techniques and different types of artistic expressions. Common art mediums used within the art therapy process include painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, and photography.

Art therapy does not require that a person has artistic experience or talent; even if you can’t draw at all, it can still be beneficial to you. Art therapy can be used in conjunction with traditional individual therapy, group therapy, marriage and family therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.

How Can Art Therapy Help With Panic and Anxiety?

Art therapy provides a way to gain insight and understanding through self-expression. The fears and other emotions that often accompany panic disorder can be hard to express through words alone, so the creative process of art therapy can help you tap into and express deep feelings. 

Getting Started in Art Therapy

Engaging in creative endeavors on your own may be a great way to combat stress and practice self-care. But to get started in art therapy, you will need a qualified art therapist to help you in the healing process. Qualified art therapists are usually available in a variety of settings, including community agencies, private practices, hospitals, and clinics.

When you seek an art therapist, verify that he or she has additional experience working with people with panic disorder. Your current doctor or therapist may be able to refer you to a licensed art therapist. You can also check out the Art Therapy Credentials Board online directory where you can find a listing of available art therapists in your area.

Art therapy can be a useful supplement to your therapy but should not be viewed as the sole path to recovery. Work with your therapist and healthcare providers to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for your panic disorder.