Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed about life? Are you yearning to express yourself creatively and see what effects it has on the rest of your undertakings? You aren’t alone. More and more Americans are feeling the burn (out) and turning to mindfulness practices and creativity for some much-needed relief. Even if you aren’t a trained artist, this doesn’t mean you don’t have tons of creativity swirling around in you just waiting to be expressed.
Humans were built to be creative. We have been expressing ourselves and our lives through art for millennia. We modern-day homo sapiens are no different, and art can bring true healing, joy, and fun into an otherwise mundane existence. As Pablo Picasso famously said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
What stops people from exploring their creativity?
When you were a kid, you probably had no problem expressing yourself creatively. Whether it was through finger paints or clay, your imagination was allowed to flow right alongside your creativity with no concerns about the outcome. As we grow and age, however, we tend to feel the need to perfect something if we are to continue enjoying it.
Many people who once loved getting messy with finger paints now say that they can’t do art because they aren’t good at it. Our words of wisdom about this? Who cares! Art is supposed to be fun, messy, and most of all, experimental. So, put your phone, work, or other boring adult activity down and get ready to loosen up and rediscover your own vein of creativity.
Adding mindfulness to art
Art is fun all on its own, but when you add a dose of mindfulness into the mix, it becomes a relaxing form of meditation and a great way to express anything lying under the surface. If you aren’t familiar with the term “mindfulness,” it generally refers to being fully in the present moment, without worrying about past and future. You can literally fill up your mind with what is happening right here, right now, instead of some storyline about what you need to do after you pick up the kids from school. Getting into the present moment like this sparks a different type of creativity and allows you to truly release that stress and overwhelm in a healthy and caring way.
Wondering how to start?
We’ve got you covered. Here is a list of our favorite beginner mindful art activities. Choose one and give it a try today. It doesn’t need to take long; you can even just set aside 10 minutes. The most important part is to make sure you are in a quiet place where your chances of being interrupted are low so you can really focus on the project at hand. If it helps, you may want to do a short meditation before heading into your mindful art practice.
Draw the Breath Meditation
This simple yet effective method of pairing the breath with drawing movements is fun for adults and kids alike. You don’t have to be Degas to understand the beauty of simple pencil and paper forms, and this meditation practice can help you along the road to creative self-discovery. Check out this video for a full tutorial.
If you love to get outdoors, this one’s for you. First, you will need to set aside some time for a walk, with the length varying depending on how much time you have. While you are out, try to collect a few favorite objects you see in your natural surroundings. Some good examples are leaves from favorite trees, bird feathers, rocks, pinecones, acorns, and flowers. Bring them home and place them on a piece of white paper or a light surface that will allow you to see their outlines clearly. Then, use simple contour lines to draw the objects slowly and mindfully, taking time to notice details as you go. When you are done, you can arrange them in fun patterns or designs and draw them again or add details to what you have already done. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect, the point is to appreciate the objects and nature itself.
If you don’t have much time but want to express yourself creatively on a consistent basis, try creating a mini mandala every day as a meditation. A mandala can be many things, but in this case, it is just a small abstract vignette. You can use pens or pencils to draw lines and paints or watercolors to even add some more layering. The sky’s the limit, which can feel intimidating, so here is a great tutorial and class offering if you would like to add this one to your daily creativity practice.
No matter where you are beginning, these three practices are a fun way to get your creativity flowing with minimal materials. As you progress, there are a plethora of tutorials, classes and more for your mindful enjoyment. Kick your inner critic to the curb and enjoy the feeling of freely creating without worrying what it looks like. You will find yourself invoking more joy, fun and playfulness into your life as a result.