21 Mar Access Your Subconscious Mind Using Art Therapy
In today’s world, it is very difficult to live a life completely free of stress, so we need to go inside our mind and train or access the subconscious mind to de-stress. It is found out that completely preventing stress can have its own harmful effects and can make a person live an inert life. So, there is such a thing as positive stress!
Positive stress is not only acceptable but is also welcome. Things turn ugly when negative, long lasting stress attacks us. It hampers the quality of life and makes us almost indifferent to ourselves. Though there are a number of medicines to combat stress, the problem is in mind and solution should also be found there. That explains the popularity of various therapies to bust stress and their phenomenal success. One such therapy is Art Therapy.
Why Art Therapy? As human beings we are inclined towards aesthetics and beauty in any form that makes us feel charmed, energized and nourished. Besides, art is a great way to express your feelings in a tangible format. Turning your influx of negative feelings that causes stress into a positive output using art, let’s you experience wonderful benefits. Here are a few art therapies that you can practice at home to overcome stress:
Look at yourself with different eyes
Some people might not be very beautiful but they are gifted with a subtle beauty that others are unable to appreciate. Sometimes people constantly keep on reminding them of their physical or facial shortcomings. Over a period of time, it affects their confidence and results in stress. If you are also battling with such stress then here is a great therapy for you. Draw your own body and try to include you realistic features. Whether you have a crooked nose or bushy eyebrows, draw it in its original form. Once you draw your picture start finding out the positive features. Everyone’s face and the body has got some nice features. You may have a crooked nose but at the same time, you may be gifted with beautiful eyes! Likewise, your bushy eyebrows might even be an ideal fit for your large forehead. It will help you to look at your body with a different perspective and identify the latent beautiful features that you are gifted with.
Create image without seeing
One of the major reasons behind stress is the reluctance towards criticism. Your subconscious mind has a lot do with your inner conflicts. Many people would not use their constructive ideas or share their innovative concepts for the fear of criticism. Over a period of time the ideas keep on simmering and finally, a constant stress is created. Such stress makes one’s life difficult. Drawing paintings without looking at them till you finish it can play a great role in de-stressing you. You can try to draw a replica image while looking at the object, without looking at the canvas or sheet till it is completed. It may sound impossible to the beginners and very difficult even for seasoned artists, but the results won’t be as negative or discouraging as you may think. Over a period of time, you may be able to make simple paintings without much difficulty and with a decent level of presentation. It would not look “utterly weird” to say the least.
One of the major causes of stress is the apprehension of the unpredictable or the unknown. By overcoming apprehension, you would be able to defeat unnecessary stress and enjoy a quality life. For that, you need to practice “innovative art” that cannot be bound to a certain format. There are a number of art therapies that encourages you to embrace unpredictability.
Using your creative skills, draw a very beautiful painting on a sheet. Once you are done, take scissors and tear the sheet (Yes!) in a number of different big geometrical shapes. Now use these pieces to arrange in different ways on a canvas. Use your best imagination to arrange them in an engaging manner and you will be overwhelmed with the results. This exercise encourages our brain to take bold challenges even during unfavorable conditions.
Make replicas of the good old days
Many times, stressed people keep on brooding over their disturbing life situations and that results in stress. Some people fancy to go back to their carefree days and enjoy the life they once relished with gusto. While you cannot bring back those days, in reality, you can at least create those carefree days on canvas. Take an album of old photos and start looking for the photos that were taken during your best time. Now take out some of your most favorite photos and make a replica of those photos on your canvas. While you imitate the photos on the canvas, you start imitating the emotions as well and thus it helps you to feel joyful and bust the stress.
Have you ever felt a gush of happiness that overwhelms your heart while you look at a flock of birds soaring high in the sky? You can feel the same joy while looking at freely flowing waters of a river. Such scenes remind us of freedom: the bird’s freedom to fly anywhere in the sky and the waters freedom to flow at its own pace. Drawing such similar paintings on a large canvas can play a significant role in strengthening the feeling of freedom and adds oxygen to your dreams. Besides, drawing such paintings also signifies that you can “create” freedom. This art therapy is especially effective if the unwanted restrictions are the reason behind your stress.
Use colors to shade and shape your personality
There is an old saying that color reflects our emotions. Colors reflect emotions which is suggestive of certain objects or tangible formats that are associated with our well-being. White color’s simplicity offers a soothing effect while the intensity of red color can help in exciting us. Likewise the gold and silver color gives a luxurious feeling as they remind us of the precious metals they are associated with. So, applying different shades of your most favorite color interspersed with soothing colors like white and aqua color can offer you a deep soothing relief. While using your favorite colors symbolizes personal choice, the use of soothing colors is indicative of “soothing your disturbed personality”.
Overcome weakness with painting
Sometimes stress is caused when you feel inferior than others. To combat this situation you can draw your own picture with a more authoritative look, a confident gait and be treated with respect. As human beings, we like to imitate the strong points and such paintings would allow you to think of yourself as a different personality. If you want to lose weight, for example, you could draw an image of just the body you want and look to that for inspiration every morning. The act of painting this, uses your concentration and focus, so that makes the brain study and look at your body as canvas that is capable of change. That’s a great way to etch this image into our subconscious mind.
Over a reasonable period of time, you may also notice some changes in your real personality. More immediate results of this art therapy include a reduction in stress due to the empowerment you offer yourself in paintings and a sense of satisfaction.
Morph and amaze
One of the best ways to bust stress is to draw something that keeps on morphing into something else. You can start drawing a man with bushy eyebrows and then extend one of the elbows to morph it into a wriggling snake! For an even adventurous trip, you can further morph the snake into the tail of a monkey hanging on a tree. This art therapy not only helps you to explore unseen possibilities but also allows you to appreciate the constructive power of constant change. Needless to say, it’s fun and that helps you in busting stress.
Picture your imagination beautifully
The apprehensions about future also result in stress. More importantly such apprehensions are vague and as they are concerned with the future events generally there is almost nothing we can do about them.
If you think deeply, you may realize that it might be called a form of imagination. But if you must imagine why go for negative imagination. Be constructive and embrace positive imagination.
Draw a beautiful picture of the person you are most worried about. It could be you, your wife, your children, your parents or just anyone whom you care about. Present them in the most favorable circumstances. For even better impact think of the situation that makes you worried. You might be worried about your lovely daughter who is going to get married soon. Then draw her with her husband, both of them laughing and giggling. Invite them to your house- in canvas- and draw your picture too. Likewise, if you are worried about your son’s law examination, the drawing his picture as a lawyer can help in boosting confidence and busting stresses.
Nehita is a mindfulness expert who writes extensively on lifestyle management, wellness and ways to lead a healthier and a happier life. She is a part of Aware’s expert team on meditation. She is also an avid artist who spends most her time dribbling amazing stories through art.