Creative Exercises That Engage the Mind & Body
by Lisa Green, LPC-MHSP, Executive Director
Do you consider yourself creative? Artistic? I’ve come around to the idea that all people have the capacity to be creative if willing to engage in the process, but it can look vastly different across the spectrum. Artistry is a talent and skill than can also be developed by anyone, but if you’re like me, you may consider yourself not so naturally gifted in that area. But as art-loving friends and colleagues have exposed me more to art therapy practices, I’ve come to see the incredible value of engaging in a creative process, no matter the outcome. In fact, the practice of sitting and creating art gives an opportunity for your mind to slow down, to focus, and engage yourself in a mind and body exercise that allows for calming, creativity, as well as mental processing or prayer if you so desire.
The video resources we’ve curated over the last couple of years give a variety of ways to engage the mind, body, and spirit. In our most recent resource video, Susan walks us through an art therapy practice using a mandala, a circle design incorporating geometric patterns. Using a mandala or circle design in art therapy has been a practice used for many years, and research shows that mandalas, along with other art therapy practices, can help with self-soothing, calming anxiety, reducing depression, and activating reward pathways in the brain.
Many art therapy practices can be simple and powerful tools to calm your mind and body, and engage in an activity that allows for processing without words, and this activity also allows you to participate without any particular skill or end goal in mind. As a non-artist, I find it a practice I can use with delight, and not worry about how it will turn out, or what I am trying to represent. What’s more, you can do it alone, with a friend, or as a family!
Whatever state you find yourself in, we hope these tools will help you engage to the benefit of your body, mind, and spirit. And as always, if you find yourself needing to talk to a professional, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.
Mandala Art Therapy Video
with Susan Butler, LMFT, LPC, LMHC:
Mandalas can be done alone or with a friend, if you’d like to process something with someone you trust. As you draw, you might want to make this a time of prayer or reflection on a specific struggle or concern you have. Slow down. Get rid of distractions like your phone, the tv, or podcasts and allow yourself to relax during your time drawing. We hope that as you pray and contemplate your current circumstances, you’re filled with the peace that passes all understanding.