There's moments when our worries just get the best of us. Pushing them away is hard. We may even recognize they are outside of our control, but still we fret, we stress, we worry. Let's be real though, there is A LOT to worry about these days. I will not list them out. Chances are you are already worrying about them. And if you're not, then, no need to add them to your list.
When we let our worrying flow unchecked, we risk falling into the pits of rumination where worries become excessive, unproductive and debilitating as real and imagined negative outcomes becomes blurred. When we are in a state of rumination, finding solutions goes out the window. We are now trapped in an loop of negative thinking. We may even criticize ourselves for worrying excessively and not solving the problems which just leads to more worry and self-defeating thoughts.
An article on Psychology Today examines the function of worry stating it's a left-brain function that attempts to solve a problem with an unknown outcome. We focus on the small details and lose sight of the bigger picture or fresh solutions. Our left-brain keeps worries in the verbal context in an attempt to protect us and keep the right-brain from conjuring up negative images.
This 5-minute art exercise is a quick way to take action addressing our worries without needing solutions. It's about quieting the mind and acknowledging the worries that are currently present. This exercise gives us space to engage both sides of the brain and gently push the worries from the mind to the paper. Only from a place of clarity can we truly make informed decisions and find solid solutions. Let's dive into some art-making.
Watch the video below and paint along with me and let's release some of our worries together. We are on our way (you'll get this phrase once you watch the video)!
Worry Boxes - Watercolor Painting Exercise
Watch Video Tutorial
Optional: Share your collage on IG with #getartspired
If you need help sourcing materials email me or DM on IG @getartspired
If you are going through a particularly difficult season and need support or guidance, I am here for you. Schedule a consultation or session. And if you want to dive deeper into the meaning of your collage, email me or DM on IG @getartspired
So this exercise, a more sophisticated and reflective take on the traditional mood board or vision board.
Instead of arranging images for inspiration or motivation, this collage is an opportunity to explore and to gain insight and clarity about the seasons we cycle through in our lives.
Take a moment to reflect on the current phase or season you're in, the one that just past or the one that you anticipate is approaching. Maybe it’s a season of rest, a season on learning, or a season on creation or manifestation.
Here are some questions to deepen your reflection and help you begin to figure out what images you may want to include in your collage.
What is the color palette of this season?
What scents do you smell or surround yourself with during this season?
What parts of this season do you enjoy?
What parts of this season bring rise to worry, fear, anxiety or apprehension?
What types of activities do you do during this season?
What thoughts and feelings arise during this season?
What is are the lessons of this season?
What is your approach to self-care during this season?
What words do you associate with this season?
What kind of support do you need during this season?
What would you name or call this season?
One of my favorite things to do while creating art, particularly when creating art for my mental health and emotional wellness, is to listen to music. While making this tutorial and creating a collage for one of my seasons, I was listening to the Global Funk playlist on Spotify. Here's the link! Spotify Global Funk Playlist
Seasons of Life Collage
Watch Video Tutorial
If you need help sourcing materials or want a kit to help get you started with this exercise email me or DM on IG @getartspired
If you are going through a particularly difficult season and need support or guidance, I am here for you. Click the "Scheduling" tab in the menu above to schedule a consulation or session. And if you want to dive deeper into the meaning of your collage, email me or DM on IG @getartspired
Monday is around the corner. Once the workweek begins, we often fall into auto-pilot. We put on the mask and the armor to get through the week. We've gotten really good at smiling even when we are screaming out on the inside. We are good at our job, and we want (need) that paycheck. When the day is over, we are beat. Our energy is all used up. We tired. And then, Tuesday rolls in, and the cycle continues.
Often we feel guilty if we slow down. We get frustrated with ourselves when we aren't as productive as we think we should be. We could use a day off, and then we talk ourselves out of taking one. Food and sleep and breathing happen when the work is done.
But what if we could spare a few minutes each day to just check-in with ourselves?
How am I feeling today?
What is causing me stress?
How is my energy today?
What am I avoiding?
What do I need?
What am I looking forward to today?
What successes did I have today?
What if we gave ourselves a moment of stillness?
Self-reflection allows us to tap into ourselves and gain self-awareness. With greater self-awareness, we can handle stress better. We can notice what we need when we need it. We are more capable of caring for our mental and emotional selves.
Below is a short art exercise for relaxation, mindfulness, and creativity. Download it and give yourself 15 minutes to breathe, have a moment of stillness, and find clarity during the week. You deserve that.
A quick and easy morning ritual art activity for mindfulness, grounding, and stress reduction before you start your day.
I often do mandala work with clients in art therapy sessions and this morning ritual is part of my personal art practice. This mandala took me about 20 minutes to create. After tracing a circle template (you can trace anything that’s round really) I used magazine images and rubber cement to create a collage.
I recommend 10-20 minutes for this practice. When creating mandala, allow the collage to come together organically without too much focus on perfection or making something pretty. Working inside and outside the circle is ok.
Once you’re done, take a moment to jot down any words or thoughts/feeling that came up for you. For this mandala I wrote, “Looking through, looking forward. Watch out, I bite. Can I do it? Words from the past creepin' in.“
What comes to mind when you look at my mandala? Share comments below. And if you try out this morning art practice, share your mandala on IG with #getartspired.
Since founding Artspiration, I've been searching for ways to make art more accessible. Maybe I overlooked some obvious methods. LOL. Check out my first attempt at a video tutorial and learn how to make watercolors from 5 ingredients you probably have in your kitchen.
DIY Watercolors Video Tutorial.
Art-making as a method of healing and mental health maintenance should be process-centered. Meaning, it's more about the experience than what the final art object looks like. I will be honest, I am a bit of a perfectionist and want to produce "good" work, but when I let go and ease into the flow of creation, I always feel 10 times better! My worries fade away, my mind and body relax, and I give myself permission to play! I hope you enjoy this tutorial! Comments and feedback are always welcome!
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 1/2 Tsp. light corn syrup
Plastic egg carton
Mix cornstarch, baking soda, vinegar, and corn syrup together until the fizz settles. Pour mixture into egg carton so that each cup in about 1/2 full. Add a few drops of food coloring to each cup to create your desired colors. Stir well. Allow colors to sit for several hours or overnight until the paints set and are dry and hard.
Use a wet paintbrush and paint just as you would with traditional watercolor cakes.
Share your pics and experiences on IG and tag @getartspired
Long, hot, sunny days are here. Pool and beach days, cookouts and vacays a plenty! Be sure to make time for self-reflection and meaningful self-care.
Here's 5 prompts to engage you in creating art or writing:
1. There are tons of things that stimulate the senses during the summer months.
Stop and notice what you hear, see, smell, feel, and taste. What do you sense around you? What thoughts arise? What feelings arise? What memories arise? What new memories are you in the process of creating? If you are creating art, this is a great prompt to guide you into a still life drawing or watercolor painting about your surroundings. Become a spectator of your environment, become mindful of the here and now. Make a record of this moment in time.
2. Find the sun and your shadow.
Trace your shadow (it could be just a part of your body). On the inside of the shadow, write the words that describe the parts of you that you avoid or don't know well. On the outside of the shadow (the background) write words to describe your light . . . the parts of you that make you unique and special, the things about you that make you feel proud and confident. You can draw images or symbols instead of writing.
3. At the beach?
Create a mandala in the sand! I invite you to do this with a friend or family member. Start by drawing a large circle in the sand. Divide the circle into sections. In each section, create a design with things you find on the beach (i.e. shells, rocks, seaweed, water, trash). After you complete the mandala, give it a title and write it in the sand. You just created some public art!
4. There's plenty of sun, so why not use it to make some art!
Sun Print Tutorial 1
Sun Print Tutorial 2
Sun Print (cyanotype) Tutorial (detailed info)
5. Here's a fun color scavenger hunt to do with kids outside.
Color Scavenger Hunt Tutorial
Click here, to watch my doodle tutorial.
Drawing isn't always about trying to create a work of art. Sometimes drawing is meant to be aimless, mindless, and a way to pass the time. It's about stream of consciousness drawing - a doodle. Doodles are most simply described as a series of marks created spontaneously with little intention or direction.
When we doodle, we are able to bring awareness to our inner critic - that inner voice that tears us down and leaves us feeling incapable or not good enough. We can begin to notice how it affects us and our actions.
Doodles span from simple line drawings to detailed self-symbols. They keep us entertained and engaged, and can benefit us in other ways too!
Doodles . . .
Viewing art can provide some of the same benefits as creating art. Many of us don't feel creative or artistic, and for many adults, making art seems too childish. Well, try taking a trip to a local art museum, gallery, or artist market! When we view artwork objectively, it can promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, improve our memory and cognition, and increase our quality of life.
One study by a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, found that women gain more benefit from actively making art, and men gain more benefits from passively observing art. Neurobiologists have found that viewing art you find beautiful releases dopamine (the "feel good" hormone) into brain and mimics the physical sensations of falling in love! Wow!
Click here to read more! And follow me on IG @getartspired to take a trip to the museum with me!
If you live in the Miami area, I will be hosting art tours for healing and wellness soon! Be sure to comment below if you're interested and share your email at the bottom of the page to stay informed!
While I believe self-care should include proactive routines and not reactive activities, sometimes life gets the best of us, we lose sight of our self-care, and we need a BOOST. Click here to read 10 quick ways to boost your mental health! I especially like #2, #3, and #5. Give yourself daily pep talks, name emotions the best you can when they come up, and focus on your strengths and accomplishments!
One story my mom will tell is how she entered me into a diaper race when I was a baby, and once they said, "On your mark. Get set. GO!" all the other babies started to crawl towards the finish line. But not me!! I was too busy groovin' to the music that was playing! LOL
Like music, dancing and movement has always been a huge part of my life. I started formal dance training at the age of 3, and continued performing throughout my life into college with the Spelman Dance Theater. I had a dream to be a professional dancer, but after injury and learning more about myself, I realized the Universe had other plans for me (that's a post for another day)!
Dancing can benefit our physical and mental health. To match our movements to the rhythm of the music, requires focus, concentration, flexibility, and adaptation. Dancing is a great way to exercise our brains! Studies show that dancing can positively affect our cognitive flexibility. This can help us better adapt to changes in our daily lives. Click here to read more about the benefits of dance in a recent TIME Magazine article.
Or better yet, turn on some music and dance!
About the Author
Hi! I'm Deanna Barton! Living through my creativity is were I find joy and fulfillment. I want to share this with all of you. This blog is intended to provide quick tips and fun posts about how to live more creatively and improve your emotional wellness. Personal growth is a process and I am here to inspire and motivate you!