The other day, my friend Sam shared that she was going through a stressful period in her life. She knew that meditation could help her but she had difficulty sitting quietly to meditate. Her mind could not stop constant thinking.
Do you ever face a similar problem?
Many people with active minds have a hard time sitting for traditional meditation, especially during stressful times.
Did you know that the word meditation means to focus? When you focus on one thing with your full attention you get all of the benefits.
Just as you can target all of the sun’s energy on one spot by using a magnifying glass, you can target all of your mental energy on one target using meditation.
If you are not able to sit quietly for traditional meditations ( which are mostly passive), you can still get benefits by using different active forms like walking, laughing, art, etc. Sam’s eyes sparkled with excitement when she found that even Art can be used as Meditation.
Would you like to learn how to relax with art meditation too? Then read on.
Sam loved art as a child, but as an adult, she had stopped it because she felt that art is only for children.
When I said that art can help both children and adults reduce stress, feel relaxed, give joy, and help develop the right brain improving problem-solving skills, she was intrigued.
Why do you think art helps in so many ways?
I shared with her my husband, Jay’s story of how art helped him get through stressful periods in his life. (Read more in the book Stress to Joy )
Briefly, he used to love art as a child but he was advised to do something else to earn his living and do art on the side. As a result, he did not touch any art activity for 20 years.
A few years back, when he was feeling stressed at work, he started painting again. It allowed him to cope with his stress, relax his mind, and sleep better. It helped him see his problems with new perspectives and solve them creatively.
After a few years, he found the courage to change his IT career and become an art instructor. Now he has an art studio where he focuses on bringing out the artist within each person.
When he’s absorbed in doing an art project, he is so absorbed that his brain gets relief from stress.
One time when I saw him doing pottery on a wheel, I realized how art could be a great mind-training tool. It can train your brain to be in the moment. Therefore I started collaborating with his Art Studio to offer the Art Meditation Workshops.
At the beginning of the workshop, I give suggestions on how to intentionally practice mindfulness while doing art. When you pay attention to each moment as it unfolds, intentionally and non-judgmentally, your creative process becomes your meditation- Art Meditation.
I have noticed that some adults face one problem with art. Sam said that one time when she tried to do an art project, she felt frustrated instead of feeling relaxed.
As we talked, she identified that as a professional, she expects perfection in everything. She expected perfection in her art also and that caused the frustration.
In his workshops, Jay jokes; “If your piece looks the way you wanted it, great. If not, then it is a piece of art.”
So, we watch for any judgmental thinking. If it comes, we let it go. We enjoy each moment and experience the process as it evolves. I notice that participants feel relaxed and excited at the same time.
You can also get that relaxed and excited feeling by engaging in some form of art meditation. Pick any form that you like and try it. Even simple coloring could be relaxing.
Start with the intention to stay mindful and enjoy it no matter what. Watch for any judgemental thinking and practice letting go. You will feel calm and develop the problem-solving part of your brain.
If you remain judgmental and self-critical, you would not be able to enjoy the process. The tool of relaxation may turn into a source of frustration.
If you do allow yourself to be absorbed in the creative expression with an open mind, you will get the benefits of meditation despite a busy mind.
So go ahead and take a few minutes to engage in some kind of creative expression, calm your mind and body and develop problem-solving skills.
If you would like to attend an art workshop with me at Feelartistic art studios, respond to this message and I will send you a coupon for an upcoming workshop.
Dedicated to your health and happiness
# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker
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I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.