- * Relieve stress
- * Improve focus
- * Boost self-esteem”
Give it a try!
Give it a try!
This is a link to a very interesting article from the blog Brain Pickings, entitled:
As someone who has experienced anxiety as a near constant companion in life, it is not usually a fun dance to partake in, in the moment. Sometimes when I speak or think about it, however, I can find the humour in it. For example: “I was having coffee with some friends, when all of a sudden I was hit with this giant tsunami of a wave of a realization that I was about to die! But nothing had changed at all except that I started freaking out cuz I felt like I was literally going to die. I wasn’t dying, obviously. Heh. My brain is so weird.” Funny, along those lines. Tragi-comic.
I found the following article by Erin Chack and Lily Hiott-Millis via http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinchack/comics-that-capture-the-frustration-of-anxiety-disorders to have selected excellent examples of how comics/cartoons/graphic novels… or any instance of images and words… to be a very powerful way to dialogue and communicate about intense internal experiences such as anxiety, and an excellent way to educate and illuminate mental health problems like panic attacks.
As both an art therapist and someone who has experienced panic attacks and anxiety, I was very touched and tickled by the comics in this article, and by the artists who created them. The experience of a panic attack or of chronic anxiety often feel beyond words in the moment, in terms of their intensity and the physicality of those experiences. They are so overwhelming it becomes difficult to return to a verbal or logical way of thinking during a high anxiety moment. However, it is often by finding my internal voice, and bringing full awareness to the experience of anxiety or panic – by narrating to myself what is happening, basically- that I can regain my sense of reality. It helps be to become aware of being in my body, and of my immediate environment, and not in the imaginary fear-based place that set off my alarm bells. Once I can relocate myself as being in a safe place, I can remind myself that the physiological experience in my body is not accurately reflecting the reality of situation I am in. Being five minutes late to dinner is no real reason to have my fight or flight response kick in… So if I can call a false alarm early enough, and try to help my parasympathetic nervous system to kick in, and take a step back while taking a step forward, I can talk myself through it… But it’s still a scary experience, no matter how many times it happens. That’s why it’s such a relief to laugh at these comics, and to know that I am not alone in this. That lots of other people have felt the same intense and frightening feelings that I have.
It is pretty fascinating to me that the medium of comics can so aptly can capture the lived experience of anxiety. What is it about the combo of words and images that is so powerful for communicating emotions? Perhaps it brings both sides of the brain together, or allows a more complex communication to occur, or juxtaposes emotions with thoughts, or represents both the physicality of the lived bodily experience through images, and the narrative of thoughts in the mind existing simultaneously… Don’t know. I wonder if the process of creating these comics helped to ease the anxiety to the artists who created them? Perhaps they helped to bring awareness, humour, and a more objective or observers’ perspective to the experience of anxiety… We would have to ask them. Anyways, I have chosen my personal favourites from the list they selected and attached them here, but check out the article for yourself, and choose your own personal favourites!
Art by Spencer of heymonster.tumblr.com
Art by Rachel Poulson.
Art by Beth Evans.
Art by Claire Jarvis.
Art by boggletheowl.tumblr.com.
Art by L.B.
Art by Cassian.
Art by Nervous Comics.
An amazing selection of writing prompts, all delivered in a visual format.
… and hundreds more!
Find them @ Writing Prompts and get inspired: http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/archive
Mica Angela Hendricks, the artist/mother, has published these collaborations between herself and her four year old daughter. The result is some whimsical, surprising, and magical art! These works are an inspiring example of the potentials of collaboration in art making.
This project, aesthetically, really reminds me of another collaboration between illustrator and child entitled:
“What children’s drawings would look like if they were painted realistically”
What If’s: I wonder if this could inspire an art therapy prompt What would it look like if an art therapist offered this activity in a session with a child or with any potential participant? Keep reading for an opportunity to collaborate with this mother/daughter aritst duo!
…and not only that!!! On her website @ http://busymockingbird.com/, artist Mica Angela Hicks offers us, the viewer, a chance to become collaborators! She offers up this template on her website, and invites us to collaborate with her, and with another person!
As posted on her website these are
“1. Do something awesome with this head. (right click the image, save it to your desktop, print it out–thick paper might work best)
2. Create it WITH another person.
3. Send a picture or scan of it to me at email@example.com.
4. Deadline is OCT 14! My daughter & I will pick the winner, and announce it a few days later.
5. Winner gets a signed custom portrait!!”
The project is a perfect example for art and science collaboration.
“We have plotted brainwave activity into a knitted pattern. Using a wearable, non-invasive EEG headset, we recorded users’ affective states while listening to Bach’s “Goldberg Variations”, concretely the aria and its first seven variations. The audio was about 10 minutes long and we downsampled each second of the signal coming from the 14 channels of the EEG device. Three main features were measured: relaxation, excitement, and cognitive load. After recording, those features were converted into a knitting pattern. Hence, every stitch of a pattern corresponds to a unique brain state stimulated by the act of listening. It means the user’s affective response to music is captured every second and memorised in the knitted garment pattern.”
Visit their website @ http://www.knitic.com/neuro/
This brilliant lecture about creativity has many parallels with the ideas that inform expressive arts therapy, and art therapy.
Neil Gaiman – Inspirational Commencement Speech
“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city. Plus, you get strawberries.”
Yes! Funny, motivational and all around great Ted Talk by gardener Ron Finlay!
“Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”
Ron Finley grows a nourishing food culture in South Central L.A.’s food desert by planting the seeds and tools for healthy eating.”