I recently invited one of my young clients into the art studio for some mindful art making. It was with excitement that he rummaged through a multitude of brushes and a variety of acrylic paints. With great care, he chose just the right tools for the job before settling into his chair and canvas. “This magic…I’m seeing it happen right before me”, I thought. He continued to work on his canvas, which would eventually become a piece that you would love if you only knew this client. The canvas and the painting it would become was not the magic I was witnessing. I know something far greater was happening.
Art making is a powerful mindfulness practice, even if you are a self-proclaimed, “creatively challenged” individual. Research studies continue to explore the biological impact of creative expression. Resent studies noted that 30-45 minutes of art making, regardless of artistic ability, lowered participants’ cortisol levels (a hormone associated with our stress responses). This outcome is true across the life span, with children, teens, and adults reporting decreased sense of stress after participating in art.
Like any one-pointed mindfulness practice, one thought (or two…maybe even twenty) can give way into our art making session. After some time, my young client, who had been so settled into his canvas gasped, “Oh no, I made a mess!” He realized that his creativity had spread off the canvas and onto the table. What an emergency that was for him! To this I replied, “Everything in this space is mess-able so that we can be creative.” With permission to be messy, just as he is, he continued into the flow.
I invite you to get messy today! Consider gifting yourself or your child the time and space for art making. Even if you are “creatively challenged”, the experience itself is good for you. To help you get started, check out these creative activities on Pinterest:
Clara Bossie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches. In collaboration with Sacred Treehouse, Clara has developed a series of lectures, book studies and workshops designed to bring harmony to family life, including the popular True Love book study. When she is not busy creating, Clara also practices and teaches yoga.