Introducing Mindfulness Corner
Stress, Anxiety and Mental Health issues are a big issue in our Society. Almost everyone knows someone affected by stress to a greater or a lesser degree, me included. And some people use less than effective ways to deal with it, ranging from self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, gambling, smoking or online gaming.
Unfortunately, most of these strategies are doomed to failure, but some people cannot see any alternatives. Some individuals don’t even realise they are stressed until its too late. Perhaps you are suffering with stress but don’t think you have any choice but to suffer in silence. It doesn’t matter what age you are, or whether you are male or female, stress can cause serious health problems.
The impact that stress has on the body is huge, and I know from my own personal experience that it can be devastating. I found myself going over and over my problems. My worries would intrude into everything I did. I felt there was no escape from it.
Stress puts a huge strain on your physical reserves leaving some people with chronic stress related illnesses and fatigue. This could include digestive disorders, skin complaints, migraines and joint pain. The list goes on and on.
Of course prescription drugs do play their part in tackling stress, and in some instances tablets can be extremely helpful to support people during a particularly difficult time in their lives. But what else can you do which doesn’t involve getting drunk, spaced out on drugs or developing a dangerous addiction?
Welcome to Mindfulness through Art
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness helps you to become fully present, to focus on the here and now and what you’re actually doing. It helps to draw your mind away from the constant worry and ‘ruminating’ that cause stress.
This includes anxiety about paying the bills, health issues, relationship problems, work related stress or anxiety about life in general. For me Art is a resting place, a safe haven and a space to just ‘be’ for a few minutes or several hours. It doesn’t cost anything and it is extremely beneficial for the mind and the body long term. When you become mindful, chemical changes take place in the brain. Your body releases beneficial hormones which aid sleep and bring about a feeling of wellbeing.
Research has shown that being mindful affects the brain in a beneficial way, and helps children improve their concentration and school grades, and be nicer to each other.
How does Art fit in?
It’s really easy to get started and you don’t actually need to have any experience in art whatsoever. The mere act of sitting in front of a blank paper and paints and creating something beautiful focusses your mind to the point where you ‘let go’ of everything else.
Anyone can give it a try with these simple tips:
- Buy a Colouring Book and Pencils and carve out half an hour a day to colour-in
- Start a mindfulness journal and incorporate sketches and doodles about your day
- Invest in a sketchbook and use it to explore your feelings through sketching
- Create a calming collage and place it somewhere in your home where you will see it every day. Cut out calming or soothing images and create an abstract on paper
- Draw yourself as a superhero. Remember, you don’t have to be Picasso. As long as it means something to you, that’s good enough
- Paint a rock. Paint what you’re struggling with or alternatively paint what empowers you. Paint a slogan that fills you with courage and happiness.
For some suggestions to get you started visit the resources page to check out some inexpensive resources.