Creating art is a powerful way to connect to our deepest emotions and self. Anyone can create art! The trick is letting go of self-judgment and caring more about the process of creativity than whether the creation is “good enough.”
Like with any wellness tool, the goal is to enhance your feelings of well-being. Think about these facts:
- Creating art allows us to be mindful and fully present in the moment.
- Creative projects help our brains and bodies feel better. It’s been shown that all kinds of creativity raise self-esteem and produce dopamine in our brains, which makes us feel good, gives us a sense of accomplishment, and enhances our wellness.
- Creating art is so powerful an act that art therapy is often used to help people heal emotionally from depression, trauma/PTSD, stress, and more.
- Art can be created by anyone of all ages, using their hands, feet, or mouth. People with cognitive differences, limb impairment, neurodiversity, etc. can all participate in creative expression, making it a universal wellness tool.
March is also Youth Art Month, with the theme “Art Connects Us.” Think about how art can help connect you, and youth in your life, to others and to your inner self.
Here are five projects you can try. If you like one of the activities, add it to your WRAP workbook (in English or en español), your child’s workbook, or your Family WRAP, as a wellness tool! You can share what you create with others, or keep it to yourself.
- Photo safari. Use a camera or smartphone to photograph 10 things that bring you joy or for which you are grateful. It may be objects you own, people, flowers, nature, animals, food, books—whatever you want. Put them in a folder on your phone or computer and look at the collection when you are feeling down, or print them and make a collage.
- Paint night. Attend a paint night with friends at a local art store, gallery, restaurant, or other venue. These events allow you to connect with others, express yourself, laugh, and walk away with a dopamine boost.
- Paint the music. Get some colored pencils, crayons, or paints and some thick art paper. Then, put on some music you love and draw or paint how it makes you feel. Let the sounds inspire you! Don’t worry about drawing images; just paint how it feels. Let your hands (or feet) do the dancing and be fully present with the colors and the music.
- Draw your emotional landscape. Use colored pencils or crayons to draw what you are feeling at the moment. You could use symbols, shapes, colors, or objects. There’s no right or wrong. Be mindful and don’t judge what you create—just express what you are feeling. Whether you are upset, happy, stressed, or calm, draw the shapes and textures that express it. Do the same for any emotion you are carrying around inside of you. When you finish, give yourself time to process how it felt to physically express your inner feelings.
- Gratitude collage. Make a drawing, painting, or collage (from magazines, photos, objects, textures) of things that bring you joy, things or people you are grateful for, or things that help you maintain wellness. You can write positive words, use colors, write affirmations, anything you want! When you are done, hang the collage somewhere you can see it to be reminded of the things you value and are grateful for.
If these 5 ideas don’t interest you, here are 100 others!
As American writer and monk Thomas Merton said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
Email a photo of your creation if you’d like, and we will share them in the next newsletter.