WITH today’s challenges and difficulties, art remains an easily accessible form of therapy. It helps explore emotions, increase self-awareness, and deal with life trials. Art-making engages both the right and left hemispheres of the brain and activates the same parts used during real-life problem-solving.
Scrapbooking, doodling, sketching, knitting, and sculpting can make a way for a better frame of mind. Thus, the Benilde Well-Being Center of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde and Lindsay Lederman, the Clinical Director of The Art Therapy Project, a non-profit mental health organization that provides free group art therapy to people of all ages affected by trauma, have compiled some useful tips for those who currently struggle.
“We don’t need to be an experienced artist to reap the rewards,” Ms. Lederman noted. “Anyone can make a bit of time for art and creativity. It’s the process, not the result, that creates a more positive mindset.”
Here are five art projects for a more positive outlook:
1. Need a sense of control? Collage. Collages help us explore ideas and allow us to be more creative without having to produce from scratch. With problem-solving and decision-making skills, we decipher how to deconstruct an existing composition to form a new product. It provides a kinesthetic release and kindles feelings of control.
2. Feeling negative? Doodle mantras for positivity. Doodling or drawing a mantra exhibits relaxed feelings and introduces positive messages into the mind. Take two minutes amid the busy schedule to jot down some words of encouragement. If you have extra time, decorate it with designs, dots, and illustrations. Doodling enables sharper focus by quieting distracted parts of the mind.
3. Anxious? Sketch or color. Take note of your thoughts and feelings by drawing a line and coloring around it. Repetitive strokes provide temporary relief from life stressors. The focus required to color likewise keeps negative emotions at bay until you are ready to address them.
4. Stressed? Knit. The repetitive hand motions of knitting are an active-reward activity. The mind and body work together to fulfill a particular task. It decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol and has a meditative effect.
5. Feeling helpless? Sculpt. Building 3D objects can mirror the process of building up our egos. Manipulating materials — may it be clay or popsicle sticks — allows us to feel masterful and ready whatever life throws our way.