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  • Ellie Lovett

Art - A therapy for the mind

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Ye you guessed it. I’m going to discuss the topic of art therapy :-) This handy Wiki definition starts us off with a clear and concise para on what ‘Art therapy’ is.

Art Therapy – ‘Art therapy combines psychotherapy and visual art. The creative process as well as the created art piece serves as a foundation for self-exploration, understanding, acceptance and eventually healing and personal growth. The creative act in therapy therefore can be seen as a means of re-experiencing inner conflict connected to resolution.]’ Wikipedia

Art therapy is one of the six expressive art therapies, these being dance, poetry, drama, music, art and psychodrama. So, if the therapy of art is not for you, there’s other expressive therapies that you can discover.

I for one, love to stumble across a motivational quote, listen to an uplifting song, read a positive message or get creative to find relief from stresses of the day and create mindfulness. All these things can change a pretty crap day to a good one, using the creative process to express how your feeling which in turn reduces stress and induces your inner Zen. It can have a huge impact on your wellbeing.

In today’s society, mental health and wellbeing is paramount. The level of awareness over the years has built rapidly through organisations such as the Mental Health Foundation, charities such as Mind and relevant campaigns that continue to educate people about mental health and encourage society to openly talk about it without shame or judgement.

The process of creating Art, or painting our inner feelings, can be a great way to express and channel emotion to help us heal and develop a healthy and balanced mind. A way of ‘brain dumping’, making sense of and resolving things in our heads, that we may struggle to express or say out loud. A very powerful tool come to think of it.

So, what do you think your painting would express? (Hypothetical question of course :-))

To me, using expression, imagination and colour to convey feelings and emotions, and bring experiences to life, is a powerful concept and one which is unique to us all. Just as individuals...all unique in our own way, so is our art...and we are all flipping amazing!

Over recent years, the adult colouring book has become very popular. I have three! :-) I came across this blog in which provided a really nice way of explaining the use of colouring books. Its from 2014 but the content is still relevant today. I can easily waffle on so here it is...quoted...

"...colouring is an easy way to calm the mind and occupy the hand...Mark Robert Waldman explained that active meditation focuses attention on simple tasks that require repetitive motion. Concentrating this way replaces negative thoughts and creates a state of peace.... This gentle activity where you choose the colours to create your picture and the repetitive action of colouring it in focuses the brain on the present, blocking out any intrusive thoughts..."

Also, further studies have shown that, "people who partake in creative activities outside of work not only deal with stress better but their performance at work improves, too."

I also have found a love of doodling, making mandalas and zentangles. After studying an Art Therapy course, I now use these creativity, pattern making processes to help me when my mind get stuck or I just need 10 minutes down time. You can explore my 'how to' video guides and exercises if you would like to know more, or if you'd like to delve deeper into Art therapy and read more about my experiences of using doodling in another blog - Relieving the creative block in lockdown

Whether its 15 minutes of colouring, or an hours worth of expressive painting, there is certainly a number of creative approaches we can adopt to help us with our mindfulness, allowing us to tackle the stresses of the day and find that inner calm to just...well...get on with living!

oh, and here's some good resources here if you want to look further....

Bye for now x

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