3 Ways Art Journaling Improves Mental Health

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I don’t like to dwell on the past – it’s important that to avoid negative thought patterns. For me, doing somethinng positive is the best way to stay well. That is what has led me down the path to create a course on art journaling linked to mental wellbeing. Because of the improvements I have seen, I want to share this with others.

Keep the Hands Busy.

In beginning art journaling was a welcome distraction from overwhelming anxiety. The very act of opening the journal page channeled my mind down into the fingertips. Next the feel of paint and/or gel medium on the skin, all the while watching colours and patterns emerge on the page. This stirs something primal in the soul, like the recording of history on cave walls. Afterwards, peeling glue from the fingers is a challenge to see if a piece can be removed intact.

A Safe Space.

Close the book and there is no judgement. What goes in your art journal can stay in your art journal unless you choose to share. Even when you show your pages it is accepted that journaling is entirely personal. You don’t have to please anyone and that is liberating. In your journal you can experiment, explore emotional issues, execute your creativity or just make a mess. The important thing is to enjoy the process. And if you really don’t like a page just bring out the gesso and start over.

A Conversation.

In fact, at any point you can cover over something you don’t like or that no longer works. This is what leads to a conversation developing between you and the page. You add something you love to a page, followed by some paint/mark making/collage. Then it seems what you loved is no longer working, so you embellish it or cover it partially/wholly. Then you try something else. You follow your train of thought on the page until you realise you’re happy; the conversation complete. It is while you are immersed in this conversation that your mind has ‘time off’ from other worries, intrusive thoughts or negative inclinations. This give it a chance to heal.

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