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Healing through Self Expression

Do you remember the joy that a box of crayons, a coloring book or blank piece of paper would bring when we were children? - happily coloring, designing and imagining. There were no rules … the possibilities were endless. The act of creating your crayon colored image inspired feelings of glee that was exciting and freeing—just enjoying the process and not worrying about the final result. Your inner child was simply expressing herself.

“It’s not just about the art It’s about giving your soul voice for freedom of expression.” - Desiree East

Intuitive art making harnesses the power of expressing yourself in this way. On the surface it may seem that you’re simply “making something nice” as you engage in a creative activity. The creation process, however, can prompt you to drop into your soul, allowing you to dig deep and express and explore your inner self in new ways. It also allows you to unleash buried feelings, showcasing your true self in a way that may be otherwise difficult.

We can sometimes get lost in our words and the stories we tell ourselves, particularly when we are facing difficulties. Being engaged in art circumvents that script and allows us to immerse ourselves fully in our experience. It reaches a deeper place inside of us that is often untouched and unedited.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” -Thomas Merton

For example, we may find it hard to put our feelings about a tough experience from your past into words, but piecing together a collage might help you convey your sadness, regret or anger more clearly, giving you the much-needed chance to release those negative emotions. Many find engaging in expressive art just as effective, and sometimes even more so, as other practices that help us uncover different aspects of our personalities and cope with challenges or traumas.

Anyone can benefit from engaging in expressive art—whether you’re struggling with a serious circumstance like grieving the loss of a loved one, feeling stressed by everyday demands or just in need of a little boost. Focusing on the artistic process such as selecting images to collage, the strokes of a paint brush or composing a perfect picture when looking through the lens of a camera promotes mindfulness—a powerful healing practice. Being more aware in the present moment, perhaps as you write your thoughts in a journal, also helps quiet your “fight or flight” stress response, which, in turn, can improve your physical and emotional health. What’s more, researchers have discovered that creative expression can increase the “feel-good” hormone dopamine in the brain.

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the soul. - Dieter Uchtdorf

For those reasons, engaging in the process of creating has been shown to have a positive impact on those dealing with conditions including grief, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic illness and depression. Collaging, writing, painting, drawing, photography or another type of creative activity may help ease the struggles—physical and mental—related to these conditions by calming the mind and body, redirecting thoughts or just helping you feel happy in the moment. The experience is quite personal and has the potential to foster a deeper connection within you, nurturing your soul and helping you feel fulfilled in a way that other activities and hobbies may not.

It’s the connection you feel to the images and words in your creative work that can impact you in a meaningful way and can help you heal. For example, maybe it’s the expression of the person in the photograph that intrigues you or the pretty pattern in the wood grain of a handmade rocking chair that comforts you.

“It’s the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” - Albert Einstein

If you are ready to start or continue a healing creative practice, I would be honored to be your guide. I facilitate virtual workshops which can help you be more social and communicative. I also offer a private one-on-one coaching session that may be more beneficial to you to ensure ample time to work with you as emotions surface during the creative process. Regardless, no prior art experience or talent is required; both experienced artists and beginners can reap benefits from engaging in the practice of expressive art. If you are curious you can learn more on my website or send me an email.

I am so grateful to you for spending a few minutes reading my blog. I hope it nourished your soul.💜

Rebecca Zacarias

Creative Life Coach and believer of living a Soul-Driven Life

Curiously Creative Founder, Creative Soul Care™ LLC

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