8 Ways to Express Negative Emotions Through Art

Art gives us the ability to express ourselves in a unique and creative way. It is often a vent which lets out our deepest emotions.


According to popular saying ‘Art is in the eye of the beholder’. Whether you agree with this or not, it is still obvious that people understand art differently, and they express themselves through art in different, sometimes contradictory manner.

Expressionism, as a modern movement which first came to prominence in Germany in the early XX century, tends to blur the line between the real and imaginary, but in effect, for expressionism, reality is of secondary importance.

What matters is our own subjective perception of the world. It’s no wonder that expressionist poets and painters have created dark, sometimes disturbing works, which reflected their deepest emotions.

In this article, we will talk about how you can express your negative emotions through art.

Write Poetry

Poetry is one of the most beautiful and artistic ways of expressing yourself. Writing poetry lets you explore the most sensitive parts of your being and reflect upon deepest emotions.

Although poetry is not popular as it once was, and it might seem too difficult for those who don’t have previous experience in writing it, it’s truly the great way to express negative emotions through.

While writing poetry, you are free of constraints and limitations of everyday life. Poetry is thus one of the best ways to experience full artistic liberty.

Compose a Letter

Although this might seem somewhat strange, or even bizarre, when you found yourself full with negative emotions, consider writing a latter, preferably on paper, and addressing it to a real or imaginary person.

If the person is real, it can be a friend or a person towards whom you are harboring resentment or another form of negative emotion.

Expressing thoughts and emotions on paper can be a powerful way of getting to know yourself as well as discovering your inner emotions in a more objective manner.

Therapeutic Writing

Writing as a form of a therapy has already been acknowledged by many psychologists and researchers. It is already used in dealing with depression, illness and other forms of physical and emotional distress.

Ultimately, the decision what to write about is only yours. However, it has to be something which could help you to overcome your negative emotions through writing.

Write a Diary

At the end of a hard day, when you are alone with your thoughts, your own personal diary can be your best friend. A diary is a place where you can record thoughts, feelings, and impressions, talk about situations and persons in your life and examine them all from your perspective.

Everything that happens in your life can find its place in your diary, from dreams, past events, and conflicts, to present concerns and future expectations.

Phycologists have already discovered the potential of journaling in therapy and it has been used as a method of therapy for several decades.

Stories and Essays

When it comes to writing, possibilities of expressing yourself are nearly endless. You are not confined to writing only from your personal perspective. If you are uncomfortable writing a journal or a letter, or simply feel it’s not for you, consider writing a story or an essay. You can develop characters and situations and substitute your own negative emotions for those of your characters.

Painting and Drawing

An empty paper is always a source of inspiration. Consider how some of the world’s most famous painters, such as Van Gogh, Picasso, and Goya found their inspiration in the negative events in their time or negative circumstances in their own lives.

Contrary to some notions, art is not analogous to beauty, and it does not depict only bright and cheerful. When painting or drawing, remember that you don’t have to follow the clichés, it is only your creativity that counts.

Your negative emotions and experiences can always take the form of something positive when you express them through painting. Instead of merely transferring negativity onto paper, you can make an effort to transform your negative emotions into something encouraging.

Photography as a Medium

Photography has the ability to capture unique events and circumstances in our lives, but can also be used as a mean to express ourselves.

Imagine taking a picture of a stormy sky or a gloomy day in your city. A photo has the power to remind us of best and worst moments we experienced, and although the example we mentioned is relatively simple, it is a symbol showing that photography is a medium for our thoughts and emotions.

The Power of Music

You don’t have to compose songs to express emotions through music. Sometimes, listening to your favorite songs, compositions, and artists can be a way to express your current emotions.

Ultimately, the music we listen is a reflection of our inner being. You have certainly noticed that the music you listen to will often depend on your mood at that moment. For example, the music we listen to when we are happy is different than the one we listen to when we are angry or sad.

Music not only captures our emotions, it has the power to change and influence them.

Expressing Your Emotions Through Dance

Many people tend to notice only the physical aspects of dance, consciously or subconsciously disregarding its intense emotional dimension.

Emotions and dance are heavily intertwined.

Dance might be one of best ways of expressing your negative emotions. It is a demanding activity, but can also be very rewarding.