I love the continual synchronicity that takes place these days. Today’s post is a guest article from Ryan Rivera, Publisher and Founder of Calm Clinic. His article touches on his insights about “art as therapy” for mental health issues.
I found his article synchronous for several reasons. I, myself, find art to be very therapeutic in my own life and feel that it can have a powerfully transformative effect on the many who are challenged by different forms of anxiety and stress. It also coincides with one of my current focuses of gearing up to teach art workshops: Creating Life as a Work of Art – offering personal and spiritual growth through the process of creative expression.
So when Ryan contacted me with his article we felt it to be a good fit to share.
A little about Ryan:
Ryan Rivera has spent 7 years of his life suffering from, as he calls it, the “whole package” – panic attacks, severe anxiety, agoraphobia, social anxiety, unbearable physical symptoms, headaches, neck pains, constant tension, diarrhea, palpitations, pounding heart. After trying numerous different treatments for his anxiety (including various medications) a tipping-point in his life made him overcome his emotional problems. Ryan made a number of “huge leaps” toward anxiety elimination and a more fulfilling life. His successes inspired and gave him determination to help other people who suffer from the same condition as he did and show them the light at the end of the tunnel.
His website, www.calmclinic.com, offers a plethora of information and help for panic and anxiety sufferers in manageable and holistic ways. He reveals the reality about medications and quick fixes, and offers insights and a variety of helpful tips so you can make educated decisions. He feels that curing the issues is a process and long term plans, as well as realistic strategies and tips, can help daily reduction of experiences. Some of these include: exercise, better sleep, understanding your anxiety, breathing, visualization, and relaxation techniques, lifestyle and dietary changes, eliminating stimulants and destructive habits, improving your internal dialogue, etc. – art therapy being one of the ways you can support this process.
Here is Ryan’s article:
My friend is a talented artist. She puts her heart and soul into her work. She paints from her emotion, without reference objects or photos to ensure that her work is realistic or clean. She has never been good at math or science or writing, but she is the definition of art: a person that puts the way they feel on paper, without worrying about marketability or social acceptance.
But while she has an artist’s soul, she lacks an artist’s technical talent. She couldn’t paint an accurate still-life, even with all the time in the world, and any time she attempts to paint people they end up looking like fan art anime characters. This lack of technical talent has made it difficult to find a career in art, where many galleries want proof of technical talent before they accept the value of a person’s art.
Yet this hasn’t stopped her in the slightest. She continues to paint away, subsidizing her art with a low salary cashiering job. One day I asked her how she stays motivated, even with all of the gallery rejections, and she shrugged and said “it makes me feel better.”
I strongly believe that my friend is going to be accepted within the artist community someday soon. All it takes is that one gallery owner – or that one coffee shop owner – to realize her talent as a true artist and she’s destined for great things. But what struck me most was that even if she didn’t become a “successful artist,” she didn’t care. Her art made her happy. Her art made her content. And that is the definition of success.
Art has long been considered a creative emotional outlet. Many artists – both those with severe mental health issues and those without – have turned to art as a way of releasing their emotions. But what is it about art that makes it so valuable?
Little research has been completed on art therapy for adult populations. But there are several reasons that engaging in art may be valuable for dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues:
- Healthy Distraction – Its primary benefit is as a distraction. What many people don’t realize is that anxiety affects the way you think. It’s natural to want to be “alone” when stressed, but when you’re alone your mind has a tendency to focus and dwell on negative feelings and experiences. Art is a healthy way to relieve that distraction. You cannot do art without focus, and so it stops you from focusing too much on negative thoughts.
- Accomplishment – Art also provides a feeling of accomplishment. With each stroke, you add something to the art piece, giving you a sense that you’re completing something meaningful to you. Not everyone completes their art, but most people still feel that positive feeling of accomplishment as they continue working on the piece.
- Emotional Outlet – It’s widely believed that art also gives you a chance to express yourself on paper. The piece itself is often based on what is on the person’s mind and how they feel, and many scientists believe that color choices and painting/drawing styles may change depending on the mood of the artist.
There are so many reasons to believe that art itself is a powerful tool for controlling anxiety and depression symptoms, that it should arguably be one of the first tools that experts use to help people with their daily coping needs.
Is art itself likely to cure someone of all of their anxieties and stresses? Probably not. Anxiety goes much deeper than any single outlet can provide, and most people turn to art as a way to express thoughts and emotions that are the result of anxiety – not stop that anxiety from coming altogether.
But as a coping tool, art has some very profound benefits, and it is absolutely worth exploring regardless of your own artistic talents.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera has used art regularly for years as one of his daily stress coping tools. His anxiety information strategies can be found at www.calmclinic.com.
I’ve been getting a nudge to share about the value of creative arts. Perhaps it is because of things I hear and pick up from others, things that come up in classes, what I notice and am receiving personally, the collective evolution we are journeying together, the energetic shifts, or all of the above.
Creativity is love. It is a magical and powerful energy vital to exercise and cultivate as a channel of creation itself. It’s an exciting time for alchemizing our very existence. We are infinitely creative beings here to evoke the remembrance of what lies in our hearts. This is an opportune and timely alignment of energies for really bringing forth the authenticity of your heart and expressing it in its most beautiful light, outward to all from within.
Our creative energy is an expression of the boundless love of All That Is and it is essential in creating new realities of experience. Cultivating the imagination, dreaming, hoping, allowing and supporting vulnerable and passionate expression, utilizing creative visualization… is all vital to manifestation.
The creative and healing arts are rapidly taking more of an essential role, as they once did, in leading the way to a new experience of life. Once again the arts, integrated with the other essentials aspects of wholeness, are and will be recognized as foundations that will bring us to a return to natural harmony and balance with the Earth, nature, and our very existence. Cultivating the right brain back into balance with the left will help to anchor in new energies. This is why it is vital to support those in the arts and to cultivate those aspects within yourself that have called to you. Valuing the contributions that creativity shares, not only to the individual practicing their own expression of it, but to all those that are touched by their creations and services, enriches communities collectively.
I am moved to share about the invaluable ways art enhances my own life and how it has the ability to do the same for others.
I find joy in walking the magickal path, and I channel and express everything in symbolic and creatively loving ways whether on my person, in my personal environment and sacred space, or through my work. Painting is my sacred key of life – my personal ankh that opens the door to life aligned with the universal will. I didn’t set out to produce art, but like the wing of a butterfly is essential to its flight, I discovered that creating art is the breath of life to my soul. From the onset, the unconscious, life-giving process of manifesting on canvas, the visions that pervaded my day-time dreams, struck me as magical. And, over the years, that magical essence persisted despite deterrence, yet the unfolding process is now accessed in quantum leaps of conscious experience. It was a naturally progressive evolution that infiltrated my life with creative passion at every corner, reminding me that who I was, is who I AM. I paint from the inside out, employing naturally innovative and intuitionally guided techniques, as my unconscious is the undisputed light that guides me through the maze of tunnels to the divinely aligned, creative destination.
I was always an imaginative and creative child, whether singing, dancing, drawing, painting, make-believing, inner-eye journeying, dreaming…and any time I immersed myself in strictly left brain things or jobs over time, it always resulted in imbalance, health breakdowns, unhappiness, diminished light, low energy, and basically like a piece of my soul dying. Whenever I let myself wander the creative paths, supported the integration of creativity into action, and watered the seeds of driven inspiration and passion, my life blossomed in all the ways the latter, on its own, wilted.
But like many of us go through, as I grew up, those parts of myself, while always prevalent, were not exactly nurtured and the natural me was reconditioned into an unnatural me, that I then had to relearn once again. Everything evolves in perfection, and while it didn’t have to be that way, without this process, much of the depth, compassion, value, and ability to see with wider perspective would not have been cultivated as it was.
Creativity and painting, for me, is enlivening, balancing, exciting, supports my growth, assists the cultivation of all aspects of my being-ness, enhances quality of life, supports all the other things I do with vitality, aligns me with my essence, supports being in tune with my intuition, other dimensions of experience, nature, the cosmos, brings greater sense of self, while also expanding my collective connection, supports inner peace and joy, cultivates trust, hope, believing, dreaming, and develops clarity of awareness and being present in the moment, aligns me with how to flow and develops courageous vulnerability that seeks no outside approval, but is centered in the security of my own heart’s knowing, and deepens the love I experience and express…. phew!
In essence, it supports what feels most natural. Yeah, you can say that creative expression really supports every aspect of life and beyond. At least, from my own experience, I can say with all certainty that this is true. I’ve experienced what it was like as a child, what it was like when I was disconnected from it and what it is like nurturing its expression.
I’ve also realized throughout my evolution and work, and observing the shift of energies, how vital to the collective our value, support, and cultivation of the creative arts is to where we are headed. Creative and healing arts were once solid foundations that pervaded our experience throughout ancient times – times when we understood and realized the importance of being in balance and harmony with nature and the cosmos, which came through our cultivation of these aspects of consciousness. As things have shifted, many of these aspects that enriched life were forgotten, lost, went more underground, were diffused and scattered, or replaced by new values. There are always cycles to life and the circle is cycling back in a new way, as we are remembering, reevaluating, and understanding that balance is essential and cultivating natural creative expression is healthy to the state of collective humanity.
All forms of art have the ability to enhance life in amazing ways, not to mention, helps us get more in touch with Source. It is an invaluable expression that through support and cultivation, can help us to connect more with our natural essence as creative, loving beings that are individually beautiful expressions of collective diversity.
We are all creative beings that channel creativity in beautifully unique ways. If you have felt nudges, inner callings, are receiving signs, have always wanted to explore your creative side or dabble in the arts, but haven’t fully supported it into the open, have felt insecure about your creative expression, judge it against other’s work, or wondered about what it would be like if you let yourself express yourself freely, now is a great time to harness that energy and let it flow with out limiting beliefs! The more you support these creative impulses, the more you allow yourself to explore things outside the box, to start creating and manifesting what you desire, to experience more magic and synchronicity in your life, to create the greatest works of art you have yet to create, and to find greater sense of peace and inner joy.
Creative energy is the source of creation. If you don’t exercise it, you close the door on the endless possibilities you, as a limitless and powerful being, have the ability to tap into. Creativity is the power of love expressing itself.
The more you support this expression in yourself and in others, the more beautiful life will be.
Here are some of the values of expressing creativity (in addition to, and including some of, what I shared it supports for myself):
- helps you be more aware of, and with greater sense of connection to, both the outer landscape of your surroundings and the inner landscape of your experience, visually, emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually
- increases your sense of gratitude as simple things once taken for granted become beautiful
- opens you up to limitless possibilities and draws in new opportunities
- greater sense of self and security with who you are and choices you make that reflect you
- you learn to become more comfortable with your unique creative process and can apply it to anything you do
- you gain greater understanding of how others perceive visual information and how to communicate in different and broader ways that words may limit – enhancing your intuitive and telepathic abilities
- you feel more in tune with yourself, your inner voice and intuition
- you learn more about yourself and the collective, as your art and creative expression will mirror current themes and messages
- you feel more comfortable with yourself
- helps you realize there is something more to life out there, beyond the obvious, that you end up finding by journeying within
- creates more joy, inspiration, and lifts you up when you feel down, unmotivated, blocked
- gives you greater sense of peace and comfort in solitude
- increases your knowledge, helps you find more meaning, and expands your horizons, as you explore through art or research themes you are creating
- cultivates states of bliss and excitement when you align with the universal you
- builds your self confidence and courage
- develops your ability to share more of yourself with vulnerable curiosity
- teaches you about yourself
- develops patience and flow
- creates wholeness
- allows you to use your whole brain and by engaging both halves (left and right) this supports great things to happen
Here are some of the values of art (both in supporting and cultivating as a collective community and in terms of what you receive from owning a piece of art or creating one for yourself):
- Art is a powerful form of expression for both the artist and those who own it, allowing the expression of individuality and can represent their beliefs, feelings, imaginations, convictions or philosophies in socially (and visually) acceptable and redeeming ways
- Art encourages people to be curious, ask questions, look within and introspect, think about ideas, experience fresh new perspectives and encourages being in the moment and stopping everything to reflect on more than just the mundane daily routines
- Art improves quality of life, enhances, revives, personalizes, and transforms any living, working, sacred, or place of gathering from lifeless to unique, beautiful, inspiring and engaging environments on an ongoing basis
- Art inspires and may spark thinking about or visualizing other ways life could be
- Art stimulates conversation and communication with the interchange of thoughts, feelings and ideas, even among total strangers who might never otherwise meet or engage
- Art speaks universally and needs no interpretation other than your personal experience of it when viewed
- Art encourages and cultivates children to dream, imagine, fantasize, be creative, express themselves, have fun with life and gives permission to do so, as well as to ask questions and expand their perceptions of reality
- Original works of art uplift, reflect, enhance and magnify the personality of the individual who owns it, as well as can stimulate and activate more of the desired elements and aspects that are desired or feel under-developed
- Art strengthens and enhances community livability, learning, creation, and engagement
- Supporting, creating and buying art improves the quality of life for everyone and serves much larger purposes than simply decorating a wall. Not only does it enhance things in personal ways, but creates wondrous transformations that revitalize, raise values and draw in new opportunities where ever artists share their artistry. This supplies the world with creative oases that stimulate culture in numerous ways around the world
We all have a creative side, even though many do not believe they are creative. This usually stems from not having learned how to use the right side of the brain (the creative side) nor being supported, nurtured, or taught its value. The more you embrace and allow the divine feminine energy (which this right brain also represents) to flow from within, in partnership with, and supported by, the divine male (the left brain) in their empowered essence, you can live in balanced harmony.