3 Ways to Use Art to Reconnect with Yourself

Reconnecting with ourselves is not always easy. For someone, it can mean solitude and listening to your inner needs and desires. For other ones, it means expressing your creativity. If you have troubles understand and finding yourself, art therapy can help you explore your inner world. The visual arts have the power to obtain access to the hidden parts of ourselves, and allow is to activate your emotions and the intuitive parts of your body. When you need to express feelings in a safe way, there is no better way to do it than creating art.

The following techniques are meant for everyone to try, and they don’t require talent or ability to draw. These art therapy activities will work if you are honest with yourself and if you give yourself the permission to experiment and explore your inner self. Creating art without any emotional constraints will reconnect you to the playfulness you had as a child. It will reconnect you to your intuitive self without judgment. And in today’s world, that is a bit of something all of us need.

3 Ways to Use Art for Reconnecting to Yourself

Scribble Drawing

Scribble drawing is a great way to warm up. Simply take a piece of paper and a pencil or a brush, close your eyes and move it as you wish. When you think you have filled most of the page, open your eyes and look at the shapes which you have created. Look the page from different angles. Try to imagine a scene into your drawing. Take colors and other materials to transform those messy shapes and lines into a scene. Once you are finished, you should also give it a title. Think about the piece you have created. What does it say? Is there a lesson that you need to hear?

Illustrate a Mandala

Mandalas have been used in the art of different cultures for centuries, and they often represent either the universe or wholeness. Creating a mandala is a mindful process of self-expression that can help you integrate both of your conscious and unconscious.  The process of drawing mandalas is also very satisfying and relaxing. Therefore it can relieve stress and anxiety.

3 Ways to Use Art for Reconnecting to Yourself

Create a Self-Portrait

Creating a self-portrait doesn’t mean you have to draw yourself. Take images from magazines, or use clay and paint. Your artwork doesn’t have to resemble you at all, but all the images, colors and shapes you implement into the piece should be somehow significant to you. When you are done, give your self-portrait a title and try to reflect on it. Try to answer how is this portrait similar or different from you in real life.

You can also try creating a future self-portrait. When creating it, don’t worry about what it takes to become the person you want to draw. Just follow your heart’s desire, and you will discover some desires you weren’t even aware of. The piece you create should facilitate introspection.

The art you create is always a reflection of your internal state whether it’s your thoughts, longings or fears. Expressing your feelings and ideas will help you listen to them which will automatically lead to relief and fulfillment.

This post was written by Tamara. Tamara works as a contributor for MAC Fine Art. She is an art historian and a curator who in her free time loves writing, visiting museums, and binge-watching Netflix.

3 Ways to Use Art for Reconnecting to Yourself

My Gratitude Journey | Meaningful Artwork

I’ve titled this post ‘My Gratitude Journey,’ though it is mainly about a piece of artwork I spent a year creating and the story behind it. Warning, I have to get a little vulnerable to tell this story.

The Back Story

I’d like to start from the beginning. I was in a toxic relationship which ended in November—though he continued to harass me until I went to Cambodia in January. On my way to Cambodia I lost my phone, and with it, his demeaning text messages. I then spend 3 weeks in Cambodia exploring and learning about the culture. A lot of this trip was spent learning about human trafficking both in the country and in the world. I spent time with women, men, AND children who had gotten themselves out of sex slavery. I also witnessed a lot of poverty and kindness throughout this trip. (If you’re interested in learning more about my trip, I wrote about it here).

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The trip was the easy part though. Arriving home was incredibly difficult for several reasons. First, cultural reintegration kicked my butt! Getting used to carrying a phone around again, going back to class, listening to people complain—it was all incredibly overwhelming. So much so that I found myself experiencing incredible anxiety every time my phone went off and angry every time someone complained. The second reason getting back in the United States was hard, was my ex-boyfriend. He started contacting me again, and admittedly, that is probably why I became so scared of my phone. I had to turn it on silent because every time it made a noise or vibrated I felt panicky, and counseling didn’t seem to be doing me any good.

The Project

It was at this point that I felt the need to begin practicing gratitude. I couldn’t tell you what inspired the actual execution of my gratitude project. I don’t know if I had been browsing Pinterest, or if I had walked by the art building and had seen something similar. Not sure. But I decided to fill a large 18 by 24 size paper with things I was grateful for. The catch was to make it aesthetically pleasing. I wrote each word in a different handwriting and in all different sizes in a silver ink.

My Gratitude Journey | Meaningful Artwork

Every day I began adding a few more items that I was grateful for. I found myself writing down more than the indented 3 items a day for the first month or so. Eventually, I began feeling better, not only about myself but about life in general. It was amazing because soon enough I found myself hanging out in my room dancing to some fun music and writing new words on my project. My fear of my phone started to fade, as I began putting my phone back to vibrate and did not cringe or experience anxiety when I’d get a notification. PROGRESS!

My Gratitude Journey | Meaningful Artwork
My Gratitude Journey | Meaningful Artwork

The Point

You might be wondering why you should be interested in my story. Well, really the story is about overcoming difficulties by using gratefulness practices. If I can do it anyone can do it. Gratitude is so powerful! When you sit around thinking about all that is going wrong, all that is awful, or all that you wish was different, naturally, you will feel sad or angry. But, if you spend your time thinking about all that is going well and all that you enjoy about your life, naturally you will begin to feel great! I chose to share my story with you as an example of the power of gratitude.

I’d love to hear about your gratitude journeys, tell me about them in the comments below!

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My Gratitude Journey | Meaningful Artwork