Art as therapy sometimes sounds like a kind of ridiculous idea to me
– I don’t want to dance out my feelings! I especially don’t want to splash random colours onto a canvas while I cry about my childhood. (Actually, that last one sounds kind of appealing.) What I really want is a realistic way to harness creativity – something that will help me through a crappy day, the way a good cup of tea or a hot bath does. So that’s what I’ve been looking into.
Now, there are plenty of places to find a qualified art therapist, and definitely seek one out if you want to experience proper art therapy in a setting where a trained therapist can talk you through the process – I definitely recommend going to trained professionals for this kind of thing first! But if you’re after a way to integrate a bit of creativity in day to day, keep reading.
So, how can a book of doodles help me to feel okay?
Often in life, we neglect our worries and memories in favour of dealing with our day to day activities – why should I think about my childhood bullies and how they affect my decision to dress, when I need to be washing the dishes and feeding the dog? Well, these thoughts build up over time, and eventually come out as stress, tears, an argument with someone, lack of sleep, or the total destruction of an entire packet of digestives. I don’t have a study to point to, just a lot of experience with emotions spilling out.
But what if you could spend 15 – 30 minutes each day, whenever works for you, either writing, painting or doodling? What do you think would come out? Drawing and painting has been known as a therapeutic, calming activity on par with meditation for years – so bam, you’re slowing down your breathing, you’re taking time out of your hectic day to be calm. But with the right prompts, you can also consider your feelings in the process.
This is why I’m going to commit to 2 weeks of keeping an Art Journal.
Once a day, I’m going to be using a prompt to inspire my doodle/drawing/piece of writing for that day. If you want to follow along, just use the 14 prompts in this graphic! By all means share your art journal day by day with me, using #pompomjournal on twitter, facebook or instagram, I’d love to see them!
So, spend 30 days getting creative, thinking about your feelings and committing to some relaxing down time, and let’s see what happens!