Exploring The Concept Of Mindful Art

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I find myself often lost and stressed out. Focusing becomes a chore, and I don't want to do anything at all.
It seems like the present moment doesn't exist anymore.

Thankfully, I found a cure for this limbo state of mind. Mindfulness-based art therapy.

Mindful art, in brief, is meditation through creation and a natural way of practicing mindfulness.

Meditation as a practice is difficult. That’s why there are so many books out there discussing meditation. But it's not the only way to practice mindfulness.

Creating abstract pieces of art is also quite therapeutic, and it has helped me how (to instead of how) regain control of my mind.

This practice can help reduce stress, increase self-awareness, improve creativity, and so much more!
Ice Bath
What Is Mindful Art?
Mindful Meditative Art is a form of meditation with an emphasis on creative expression and self-care. Whether you're an experienced artist meditator or have no previous experience, this practice is for you!

Attention is a currency in the modern age of endless information. How do you spend your attention?
If you spend anything like mine (endless scrolling through IG and TikTok). You will find yourself getting bored of activities very fast.

Just practicing mindfulness can have great benefits in taking control of your mind.

Ok, you have sold me. But I am not very arty, nor do I have a paintbrush, let alone paint.

No worries, dear reader.

You don't need much, just a willingness to draw like a child.

One of the beautiful things about creating art is that you don't need talent to do it. Instead of judging it as being good or bad, focus on how the creative process feels.

The feelings of art and creating pull us into the present moment. They help us be aware of and center ourselves.
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Practice Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy
While practicing mindful art, there are a few things to keep in mind. Focus on rounding the corners of the lines in your doodles.

Round corners soften the artwork and calm down the artists. Soft lines are used to radiate a feeling of safety & security in art therapy.

I'd recommend using the following exercises to doodle on the side of your page while working on something that you find stressful or overwhelming. This could include planning for the future, writing a "to-do" list for the day, or even just writing a healthy shopping list.

Using these exercises is a form of creativity and can be very powerful for self-improvement and development. Additionally, art therapy promotes mindfulness and intentionality in the activities that you do.

Here are a few exercises for you to try out (No art materials needed):
  • Draw your breathing
  • Nerographic Art
  • The Gird Doodle

My personal favorite is neurographic art. Turning a few simple shapes into a chaotic masterpiece really resonates with me.
Be physically active
Draw Your Breathing
  1. Inhale - draw a line going up
  2. Exhale - draw a line going down

Neurographical Art
  1. Draw some circles and shapes on a page (I like to trace a bottle lid to get the circle perfect)
  2. Draw some wavy lines across the page
  3. Round the corners at the intersections between every line in black ink/paint and play around with the thickness.
  4. Use colors to fill in as many or as few of the blank areas. (You can even use shading techniques to give them some extra depth and flair.)

The Grid (Doodle)
  1. Draw a 4x4 grid
  2. Add semicircles on each line (Note: in a group of 4blocks each semicircle should be drawn on the line 90 degrees from the previous one)
  3. Add smaller semicircles
  4. Add even smaller semicircles
  5. Fill in the innermost semicircle- between the block outline line and the semicircle
  6. Add curved lines around the edges of the bigger semicircles
Why Is This Useful?
Ok, but why would I use my time for this?

Here's why!

Everyone wants your attention. It's the currency of the modern day.

The best way to take control of your mind and only give your attention to what really matters is to be aware of yourself.

Meditation might not be your cup of tea, but mindful art is more interactive and engaging.

Mindfulness based art therapy is also a form of self-care. Self-care is often neglegted by people who are stressed out such as new mothers, students, and people in high stress jobs such as health care workers.

Mindful art therapy is a simple low time cost investment in yourself that will yeild amazing results.

Additionally, when you are taking care of yourself well, you will find that you sleep better at night.

The Connection Between Mindful Art And Appreciation
By being more mindful, you can focus on what connects you to your art. If you are just trying to clear your mind, move the pen/pencil across the page in a way that calms you.

Most of the time, it would be in straightish, wavy patterns. But if you prefer other shapes, lines, or patterns, use them instead.

Additionally, mindfulness will increase your empathy and emotional intelligence.
Be physically active
Challenges and Considerations
Now, these results seem good and all, but it's too new-age-y for my taste.

Well, dear reader, it is completely normal to have feelings of hesitation when you come across something that makes you open yourself up.

Don't close yourself off out of fear of being judged; do what you want to.

Plus, if drawing and painting aren't your styles, you can still use mindful expression - such as interpretive dance, poetry, or just strumming away on a guitar to clear your mind.

All of these forms of expression open you up to criticism, judgment, and even perfectionism. This can be uncomfortable. To counter this, you need to practice self-compassion.

Go easy on yourself and love yourself.

Personally, I love to share everything I create with the people closest to me. Not to look for quick compliments but because I get excited about doing things that I enjoy.

One common challenge for people is to draw for the sake of drawing. Learning that your art doesn't need to be perfect is a big thing. I still struggle with perfectionism at times, and all that does is add stress to my life.
My solution: make bad art on purpose.

I find that bad art is really fun to make and takes the stress of being the best (that I put on myself) away.
Be physically active
In Conclusion
Mindfulness has become a common topic in the world. The benefits of mindful practice are extremely promising as a path of healing, stress management, discipline, and taking back your attention & focus.

Being more focused during the age of constant information is a great skill to have, and that is why everyone should encourage mindfulness. My personal favorite form is mindful art.

Mindfulness-based art therapy and mindful art activities will grow with the popularity of mindfulness. Just taking the action to create art will help you calm down and relax.
I currently carry art journals and manifestation journals with me to meetings and anything that can trigger my anxiety. By doodling and making art, I calm myself down and pay more attention during the meetings.

This is a great proactive art activity that anyone can do and is a basic form of art therapy.

I encourage you to explore different art forms and expressions. Incorporate mindfulness into your own journey and take control of your time and your life.

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