Unconventional Therapies: How Art and Video Games Can Alleviate Anxiety – Insights by Dr. Michael Vivian


In today’s fast-paced and anxiety-inducing world, the quest for effective stress relief and mental well-being often leads individuals to explore unconventional therapies. Dr Michael Vivian delves into the therapeutic benefits of art and video games as complementary approaches to managing anxiety, shedding light on their potential to provide relief.

The Role of Video Games in Managing Anxiety

Video games offer a unique avenue for managing anxiety, providing an immersive experience that can:

1. Distract from Anxious Thoughts: Engaging in a captivating video game can divert one’s attention from persistent anxious thoughts, allowing for temporary relief from overwhelming stress.

2. Offer a Meaningful Challenge: Overcoming challenges within video games can foster a sense of accomplishment, boosting self-esteem and confidence. This achievement can counteract feelings of helplessness associated with anxiety.

3. Encourage Problem-Solving Skills: Many video games require players to solve complex problems and make strategic decisions. This engagement can stimulate cognitive functions and improve problem-solving skills, which are valuable tools for managing anxiety in daily life.

4. Promote Relaxation and Stress Relief: Certain video games feature serene and visually captivating environments that induce relaxation. Immersing oneself in these virtual worlds can serve as a form of escapism, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Choosing the Right Video Games

Not all video games are equally effective in managing anxiety. Consider the following tips when selecting anxiety-reducing games:

1. Peaceful and Relaxing Settings: Opt for games set in tranquil and harmonious environments. These games often promote relaxation and provide an antidote to the chaos of everyday life.

2. Be Mindful of Competitiveness: While competition can be motivating for some, highly competitive games may exacerbate anxiety symptoms for others. Choose games that align with your personal preferences and emotional needs.

3. Explore Virtual Reality (VR) Games: VR games offer a fully immersive experience that can be particularly beneficial for managing anxiety. The sense of presence and engagement in VR worlds can provide a unique form of escapism and relaxation.

Understanding the Power of Art Therapy

Art therapy, as explained by Dr. Michael Vivian, is a psychotherapeutic approach that harnesses the creative process to improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Key benefits of art therapy include:

1. Enhanced Emotional Understanding: Engaging in artistic expression allows individuals to explore and gain a deeper understanding of their emotions, aiding in emotional regulation.

2. Symptom Management: Art therapy can help individuals manage the symptoms associated with anxiety, providing an outlet for expression and release.

3. Behavior and Thinking Management: Through the creation of art, individuals can address and modify behaviors and thought patterns contributing to their anxiety.

4. Boosted Self-Esteem: The act of creating art can boost self-esteem and self-worth, fostering a positive self-image.

Getting Started with Art Therapy

Starting art therapy is accessible and requires no special skills or equipment. Consider the following tips:

1. Let Go of Perfectionism: Art therapy is about self-expression, not creating masterpieces. Allow yourself the freedom to create without judgment or pressure for perfection.

2. Utilize Colors: Different colors often symbolize various emotions. Explore the emotional connections of colors and incorporate them into your artwork.

3. Create an Art Journal: Dedicate a journal to your artistic expressions. Use it to document your thoughts, feelings, and creative endeavors.


While art and video games should not replace professional help in managing anxiety, they hold promise as complementary tools. Art therapy offers a path to self-expression and emotional understanding, while video games provide an immersive escape from the pressures of daily life. Dr Michael Vivian underscores the importance of discovering what works best for individuals and incorporating these unconventional therapies into their wellness routines, alongside traditional forms of mental health support.