Create Your Calm

By Lindsay Valadares, LMHC PRO Medical Counselor.

Looking to de-stress? Studies indicate that when stressors accumulate it may be helpful to get creative. Pull out your watercolors, grab some Play-Doh, reach for your instruments, or open to a fresh page in your journal. Creative expression can take many forms- art, dance, movement, music, writing- but the idea is the same regardless of the medium you choose: engaging in creative expression can, in fact, be powerful for managing stress and increasing positive emotion.

How does it work? As stated by Shelley Carson, Harvard psychologist and author of Your Creative Brain, “When people are in the flow state, they are meeting challenges as they create, and every time they’re successful, the reward center in the brain is activated and they get a little burst of dopamine.”

She noted chemical reaction in the brain that accompanies creative behavior plays an important role in reducing stress responses in the body and generating positive mood. In addition, creative expression can help us to find sense of control and provide us with an outlet.

The takeaway: When stress gets high, engaging in creative expression can be an effective way to reduce tensions and cultivate a greater sense of calm.


Lindsay believes that counseling should be an encouraging and collaborative process that promotes growth and positive change. She utilizes cognitive-behavioral and client-centered approaches to help clients explore individualized goals, identify personal strengths and abilities, and examine patterns of thought, behavior, and emotion. When working with children, Lindsay utilizes a variety of therapeutic play and art techniques to help create an environment for emotional expression and skill-building.

To learn more about PRO Medical’s Counseling Center, visit their website here.

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