How watercolor painting keeps me sane

Hi, I’m Lise and I’m addicted to keeping myself busy at all times so I don’t have to experience any thoughts. I’m also addicted to purchasing new watercolor single colors and/or palettes.

During a global pandemic where everything can feel overwhelming to someone who suffers from general anxiety disorder, dissociation, and depression, it is important to find something to cope with. I attend university, and I work full time as an independent contractor translator so I always have a lot on my plate. I try to spend some of my free time playing video games to distract my brain, but sometimes I need something that doesn’t require too much thinking.

Watercolor painting is the perfect activity for me. I get to listen to calming music, maybe even ASMR videos, while also getting to create something. I’m not great at painting, but it is fun to be able to just express my creativity in some way. I don’t have anything in particular that I paint, I either just let my creativity flow, or look up fun tutorials on YouTube. Lately I have been practicing gemstones, but those have a tiny learning curve. I have been wanting to paint something Lord of the Rings inspired for my friend’s 30th birthday, so I might just do that.

Through personal experience, I have compiled a little list of reasons why watercolor painting is great for anxiety and dissociation.

Why watercolor is great for you:

  • You can just disconnect from reality and avoid having any thoughts
  • You get to create something and it feels great
  • It is easy to make mistakes, but they are also easy to fix, just add water
  • Getting to make something can help ground you when you are dissociating
  • Everything you paint can be used as decoration. You can even make little paintings, cut them out and paste them into your junk journal, bullet journal or scrapbook
  • You could scan your paintings and make and sell prints
  • You could turn your paintings into stickers
  • A handmade painting makes cute gifts for a significant other, friends, and family
  • You get to collect pretty paint colors and palettes, so the little hoarder crow within you becomes happier

There is probably a lot more benefits to painting, but this is what I could think of off the top of my head. I love being able to create something, and watercolor painting has turned out to be the perfect medium for me. I used to be in love with acrylic painting, but it didn’t give me the same feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that watercolor does. Hopefully you will find your happiness with watercolor painting at some point, too.

28 thoughts on “How watercolor painting keeps me sane

  1. While I have never tried water colour painting before, I do agree that painting is a great way to distract yourself from negative thoughts and just relax. This sounds amazing and tho I suck at painting, I would love to give this a try! Lovely post x!

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    1. Thank you! I would definitely recommend it since watercolors have so much wiggle room if you make little mistakes, just add more water, or wipe it off to start over x

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  2. You’re just like me. I also love to keep myself busy at home. That’s why I never complain about lockdowns and stuff. In fact, I feel happier staying at home doing my passions. I also love drawing and have been drawing a lot since this pandemic. But I like to draw using markers instead of watercolours. Btw, love your paintings. Keep on the good work.

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    1. I’m glad it’s not just me! And that’s nice that you get something positive out of the pandemic. Drawing with markers sounds like a lot of fun too! And thank you, that’s kind of you x

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  3. I love both watercolours and acrylics. I did try oil painting but it comes with a lot of trial and error. I was an acrylic lover but during pendamic i too came across water colours and even happened to land opportunities to make commission work out of it.
    Painting is really therapeutic.

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    1. That’s great that you get to do commission work! I agree that oil painting definitely comes with a lot of trial and error, that’s why I love watercolor painting so much since it leaves more room for fixing errors with water and tissue paper x

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  4. Isa A

    I’m impressed to hear how busy you are and how you manage everything. Drawing or painting takes significant time and u nicely manage that too. I also like watercolors over acrylic or even oil it’s a great and versatile medium to use. I checked this study recently that coloring activity in general relaxes the nerves so u can choose whichever medium be it marker pens or paints. You enjoy painting and make the best use of your time is something not everyone can do. Great to get to know you. ❤
    Isa A. Blogger
    http://bit.ly/39f9FN0 

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    1. Thank you, that’s so sweet of you! I agree that they’re all great mediums, and just being able to create something that is visually pretty is so nice. Hopefully you would be able to spend your time doing something you love too x

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  5. I know how you feel, I can’t even sleep without the TV on to stop me thinking in order to keep my dark thoughts at bay. How did you end up picking watercolours over other forms of painting?

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    1. Same! I always have to have something on in the background. I think I ended up choosing it because it has more room for errors, compared to oil or acrylics. All you gotta do is add more water and wipe it off with some tissue paper.

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  6. nortoncharity

    That is so awesome. I haven’t done may watercolor paintings before but I could see how thats relaxing and calming for you. Decorating spaces in my home is the same way for me!

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  7. That’s great you found something to do that doesn’t require a lot of thinking, but you get to be creative & make something!
    I love your watercolor painting & whenever Claire paints with watercolors, I’ll join her. I love painting flowers & succulents haha

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  8. I can certainly relate to the idea of being desperate to distract yourself, or remain busy, and I’ve tried sketching before. Sadly, since I am very much not a good artist, I always found it too frustrating, but it’s great that it can help relax you!

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  9. Pingback: What is ASMR and how can it affect mental health? – Oddlymusings

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