Did you know that channelling your inner artist to express yourself via art can actually help you balance your mental well-being and this is known as Art Therapy.
WHAT IS ART THERAPY?
For thousands of years, art has been a means of communication for people from all cultures, religions, and backgrounds to express what they feel by creating a visual collection of colours, paintings, symbols, images, sound etc.
However, the term ‘Art Therapy’ wasn’t coined till 1942, when British artist Adrian Hill discovered various health-benefits painting and drawing in patients recovering from tuberculosis. Since there was no formal art therapy courses or training programs available at that time, various writers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health care professionals began to describe their work with people in treatment as “art therapy.”
Now, people often wonder how an art therapy session differs from the average art class? Where an art class is focused on teaching technique or creating a specific finished product, or the ‘outer experience’, art therapy is more about tapping into that inner experience, responding and coping with situations in life. It’s similar to how we associate walking with nature therapy as opposed to an exercise, and shopping to retail therapy as opposed to just buying new stuff. In essence, the purpose of art therapy is to get a relief, to relax and have some kind of therapeutic experience for ourselves.
HOW IS IT GOING TO BENEFIT YOU?
An Art Therapy detox can help you cope with stress, boost self-esteem and build skills such as social skills and maybe even some artistic ones.
Of course, doing art therapy at home wouldn’t be the same as doing it with a certified art therapist, however it can still help you answer a lot of questions which may be troubling you and tackle issues which may be causing confusion and distress. This simple exercise can be used to confront a wide range of problems such as severe stress, coping with a traumatic experience, depression, Family or relationship problems, anxiety etc.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
Art therapy is a creative process to get in touch with your emotions and feelings, which you bring to life through artistic expression be it drawing, painting, colouring, making a collage.
The goal is simple: express what you feel on a canvas to visually explore your personal insight and develop a sense of awareness and understand the themes and conflicts which may have been stopping you from feeling at your 100%.
While it may be difficult to do it in a group given the current conditions, you can also do it at home, individually or in a couple or with your family. This is called self-art making.
Now, you may be thinking - this isn’t possible for me? I don’t have the skills, the expertise or the experience, or the supplies to create ‘art’. Do-not worry!
All you really need is 3 things:
HOW CAN YOU DO IT AT HOME?
Start with preparing yourself, take a few deep breaths, close your eyes, get in touch with your body, ground and calm yourself and set the intention for artmaking… what do you want to work on? Maybe for you that’s repeating a mantra or an affirmation? Or facing some thoughts and memories. Giving into this process mindfully is what’s going to make you feel the most calm, the most relaxed and make this a cathartic exercise.
So what exercises can you do?
Write about how you feel. Writing “focused on positive outcomes in negative situations” decreases emotional distress. Writing before bed can decrease your mind overthinking and worry, allowing you to fall asleep faster. Find some nice journals HERE
DRAWING, COLOURING and PAINTING:
Draw or paint your emotions: Focus entirely on painting what you're feeling. You can Create an emotion wheel. Using colour, this activity will have you thinking critically about your emotions. Make a meditative painting. Looking for a creative way to relax? Have trouble sitting still to meditate? Meditative painting might be just the thing you're looking for. No painting skill or experience necessary - only a desire to relax and become more creative. Find some painting kits HERE and colouring kits HERE
While it may be considered rude to doodle during classes at school, or in a meeting at work, doodling can actually be incredibly beneficial. For many, doodles consist of unconscious repeated pattern. No two doodles are the same, but we often return to the same patterns, which may be down to their pleasing familiarity, how enjoyable they feel to draw, or simply the fact that they’re what we’ve always doodled.
Calligraphy has been linked to mental and physical health benefits similar to those experienced by people who practise meditation. Find a Calligraphy set for beginners HERE
SCARPBOOKING: This is one you can do by yourself or with others. Your scrapbook is more that paper, ink, and photos. It’ll be something that gives you a source of pride and joy as it takes you back to your friends and family who you may not have been able to meet due to the pandemic and re-connect with that sense of belonging to make your heart happy. Find one HERE