Art Therapy and Mindfulness

Written by Lacey Ford, Co-founder and CEO of Full Circle - Art Therapy Centre

Many daily distractions and stressors take us away from connecting to our emotional and physical state.  We become reactive to our feelings.  We can restore our balance using mindfulness and grounding techniques.

Mindfulness calls for “an awareness of self and a capacity to reflect” in the present moment. (Hinchey, 2018).

Art-making is a naturally mindful activity.  It integrates the body and the mind.  It focuses attention on the here and now.  Art-making is a great grounding resource because different art materials activate our senses: sight, touch, smell, and sometimes hearing. (Rappaport, 2009).  
That's why the therapists at Full Circle Art Therapists increased their focus on using mindfulness-based practices.

Art Therapy & Mindfulness Exercise:

Draw or paint your breath. It's a great way to slow down thoughts and connect with breath and you can practice it at home or on the go!

Approx. duration 2-3mins.

Step 1. Set up your space with a solid surface to write on, paints or drawing materials nearby, a comfortable seat, guided meditation to connect with your breath (try this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmFUDkj1Aq0&t=17s)

Step 2. Listen to the guided meditation to gain awareness of your mind and body and the natural rhythm of your breath in this present moment.

Step 3: When you have finished the guided breath meditation, move your attention to your art materials; have a piece of paper ready in front of you and just one art material you will follow your breath with (just stick with one to draw your breath, since the focus is on the process not the end-product)

Step 4: Once you are ready, place your art material (oil pastel, marker, paint brush) on the paper in a stable upright position, and during your exhale draw or paint your exhalation. Repeat 10 times or until you have filled the page.