Feeling stressed? Try torn paper therapy!

Stress seems to be as natural an occurrence today as breathing. It’s a manifestation of emotional and/or physical tension, usually triggered by an event, experience or thought that leaves us feeling nervous, frustrated, irritated or even angry. Ever so often, we hear ourselves say –

‘Ugh, I’m so stressed! I just don’t know what to do!’

Now, not all stress is bad. It’s the body’s way of responding to something challenging. There are instances where stress, usually in short and controlled doses, can be positive, such as when we push the pedal on productivity to meet a deadline.

However, the day-to-day stress that we face is far from productive. In fact, it can cause physiological, emotional and psychological harm if allowed to continue for prolonged periods. The question now arises – how do we deal with stress?

There are many ways to manage stress – from exercise and taking a break, to therapy. Stress-management techniques differ based on the type and level of stress, so be sure to assess yourself and seek assistance accordingly.

For mild day-to-day stress, we have something that we love and are sure that you’ll love too – Torn Paper Therapy!

What exactly is torn paper therapy?

It’s almost self-explanatory. It’s a simple exercise to burn some of that pent-up stress and churn it into a creative output. Here’s how you can do it.

  1. Collect paper sheets of different colours and textures. Experiment with plain paper, newspaper, sugar paper, butter paper, handmade paper, and others. You can even use any paper that you may have lying around.
  2. On each paper, jot down what’s on your mind, something that’s bothering you or stressing you out. Is it a project that just isn’t getting done? Or some doubts you may feel creeping up, about your talents and abilities? You could write about anything – fears, doubts, secrets, frustrations or even a rambling of thoughts. No need to complicate it, simple words and phrases are just fine. If you prefer detailing your thoughts, that works too! The idea is for you to write down whatever is on your mind that you’d like to let go of or move on from.
  3. Now comes the fun part – tearing them all up! Tear them in shapes, in strips, or even randomly without a second thought. You can add colour and highlights to certain words, even black some of them out. The more random the tearing process is, the better. As you tear the paper, be aware of how it feels to let go, to tear away the negativity and burdened thoughts.
  4. Once you’re happy with the tearing (liberating, right?), use the paper scraps to create a collage or a mosaic piece. You can even arrange them according to your fancy, draw and paint over them.

What you would’ve done with torn paper therapy is transferred thoughts and feelings that were locked in your mind, to another medium. You then got rid of these thoughts and emotions by tearing the paper up into scraps, and making something beautiful out of them. This is exactly how torn paper therapy helps!

  1. The simple act of physical transference of thoughts from your mind onto a tactile surface like paper is a relieving experience. Through this exercise, you get to narrow your focus to thoughts that are stressing you out, and channel them away from your mind.
  2. By tearing up your ‘thoughts’, you are ridding yourself of these negative emotions and feelings that would have otherwise festered within your mind. Tearing the paper provides a perceptual illusion of letting go of that which you don’t want.
  3. Finally, by creating something new and positive from the broken thoughts and torn scraps, you symbolically regain and reclaim control over your mind. The power of the mind is incomprehensible, and this is a simple way to visualize owning your thoughts and emotions. Also, breathing new life into these scraps of paper helps in replacing negativity with positive associations.

The benefits of torn paper therapy are several, and we’re sure you’ll experience them as you take part in this activity. In fact, why not make a project out of it, either for yourself or with a tight circle of trusted friends? Share artsy inspiration for the final product, and even exchange the positive art you create from something that was once negative!