There has been a long relationship between art and spirituality. Early civilizations used art to make sense of events around them. It was also a way to record the culture of the time. Over time, the various civilizations and their spiritual life evolved. Art became the means of expressing their spiritual, philosophical and cultural concepts.
The action of creating the artwork was and still is a deeply rewarding endeavour. When an artist connects with their inner self they are able to bring forward insights and themes in the images for others to appreciate and to reflect upon.
Furthermore, the action of creating the artwork is a meditative and often spiritual experience can lead to an inner understanding of self.
By using meditation as a precursor to an art therapy session, the conscious mind is stilled and in this stillness, there is the opportunity to access the subconscious mind with less resistance.
A short, relaxation meditation provides a safe and supported place for you to enter into a quiet space. Whilst in this space, you can create or produce images that come from your subconscious mind. So too, the process can lead to creative problem solving.
A Blank Mandala to download and enjoy.
So what is creative flow? Creative flow can best be described as a relaxed state of mind that has been brought about by focusing on creating an image or piece of art work.Creating or colouring in mandalas are an ideal way to achieve this.
Benefits other than creative flow are:
- self reflection
By engaging our senses – visual and kinaesthetic – we are able to enter into a meditative state. The action of colouring in, as well as engaging the mind in selection of the colours, helps us to distract the conscious mind. In turn, this allows the subconscious mind to create images that may represent previously forgotten conflicts or traumas. These can then be interpreted by having a discussion about what meaning the image has to you.
During the course of a therapy program, you may well discover that as you experience this creative flow, you also become more aware of strategies that help you to reduce your stress. With stress reduced, you will enjoy more self awareness and able to better focus on daily tasks.
Gratitude is where you acknowledge the positive things that are in your life and that you appreciate on a regular basis. Why is gratitude important? By acknowledging the things we are grateful for, we are not focusing on anything that we may perceive as lacking in our lives.
Gratitude focuses the mind on the “now” and is a form of mindfulness, especially when we write down on or journal on a daily basis.
As we focus on the positive, endorphins are released and we feel better. A positive mindset is important to wellbeing and especially in today’s pandemic, helpful in maintaining wellness and a more balanced emotional state.
Having a daily practice that helps you to focus on things that you are grateful for will help you to form a new and more helpful mindset.
In the past I have run a couple of 30 Days of Gratitude, both here and on Facebook. It may be a little difficult to find the posts now as the last 30 day challenge was in 2020. A little time consuming, but another way to jog the mind to think about what you are grateful for is to write a single sentence in you diary each day about what you were grateful that day. You can go out and buy an expensive journal with the prompts already printed or make your own.
When you love what you do and are engaged in the activity, hormones such as Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin (happy hormones) are released and stress is reduced.
As stress is reduced, wellbeing is increased. When you love what you do, you may discover or rediscover something that you yearned to do as a child but put aside due to societal or cultural expectations.
What dreams did you put aside?
Pursuing what you love to do will bring you a great sense of satisfaction and completion. The joy in creating has immense benefits. It could be cooking, woodwork, pottery or another craft. Not only crafts but writing or art can bring great joy to both creator and observer. Have you noticed that when someone is engaged in their passion, their inner energy is apparent and they radiate that out to those around them?
If you need help in rediscovering your dreams let’s have a chat.
Coping strategies as we begin to return to more social contact and are vital in mental health recovery. Effective coping strategies empower you when you take note of and recognize what may trigger you in a crisis situation. When you have access to these strategies, it will give you a sense of control over some part of your life that otherwise may seem out of control.
For example, recognizing that stress is inevitable for everyone at some stage can help to normalize stressful situations. Furthermore, being aware of your response to stress and using more helpful options to manage that stress can help you move towards recovery. Good coping strategies lead to good Emotional Intelligence. Once you are aware of what stressors are most likely to trigger you, then you can start to work on your emotional response in an emotionally intelligent way.
In the workshops and sessions that I facilitate, clients are offered a variety of simple, yet effective strategies to help them cope with the ever changing landscape that we encounter as we navigate to our “new normal”.