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Finding Flow

Artist. Creator. Visionary.

Since starting my art journey I have been trying to find my flow, my style, what brings me joy and I think I am getting there

Top 10 Tips for Mental Wellbeing Through Creativity

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Did you know that the first treatment for anxiety and depression recommended by NICE is Mindfulness? So what does this have to do with art workshops?  I have always been interested in holistic/natural health. As a masseuse on the cruise ships in the 1980's I discovered the amazing connection between our emotions, thoughts and physical wellbeing. I witnessed the spontaneous healing of physical ailments such as frozen shoulder and insomnia through the release of emotions. In my 30's I suffered a couple of bouts of depression taking me off work for 3 months at a time which inspired an interest in mental wellbeing. In the 90's I promoted a medication for schizophrenia and bipolar which got a licence to treat anxiety. I felt there must be better options having worked my way through my own issues by learning natural techniques. I was introduced to meditation and the power of the alpha state. In 2009 I qualified as a clinical hypnotherapist which further strengthened my belief in the power of the mind over the body and the importance of managing our thoughts.  Now, in my 60's with a background in mental health and a business teaching art workshops I am able to recognise the mental wellbeing benefits of creativity. I started teaching soft pastel workshops quite early on in my art journey. Mainly because I had done a lot of training during my corporate career and I find it easy to structure learning activities. What I have found though is that the workshops have organically attracted people who have never done art before, many of whom were told at school that they had no artistic skill so they have not bothered since. However, with soft pastels anyone and everyone is able to create a piece of work they are happy with. Once you understand how the pastel and paper can work together it becomes simpler to gain the results you want.  I tend to start beginners with soft pastel seascapes where they can learn how to blend and layer to create dynamic sunsets. What is wonderful is to see how good it makes people feel. I have recently run workshops for out local breast cancer charity Bosom Pals and I have been delighted to see how fabulous the ladies feel at the end of the session and how relaxed they are when they go home. I have also been running sessions for our local Age Concern Community Hub and have seen how valuable they are for improving confidence and getting people who have been very isolated back into a social setting. Why? Well because any activity that totally absorbs all of your attention is a 'Mindful' activity. It is also a 'non threatening' environment where people can chat or not depending on how much they want to focus on their creative endeavour. Spending a few hours playing with colour and creating a piece of work that surprises and inspires you is incredibly rewarding.  There is a huge amount of clinical evidence to support the benefits of Mindfulness e.g. practicing mindfulness had been shown to improve relationships, sleep, reduce blood pressure, pain, anxiety and depression amongst many more benefits. I recently watched a series on Gaia called The Missing Link with Greg Braden and sure enough, he demonstrates the scientific evidence that proves that when the brain is in a certain meditative state our cells respond with healing.  So if you are struggling with all the negativity and scarcity messages around currently then help yourself by doing the following:

1. Detach yourself from the main media and avoid the news

2. Focus on doing what makes you happy, not what you think you should do

3. Get out in nature and get your bare feet on the earth to reconnect with the natural magnetism of the planet and ground yourself

4. Eat clean food - avoid processed, additive laden food

5. Find activities which totally absorb you such as yoga, art, music. Something that uplifts your soul

6. Surround yourself with people who lift your spirit and make you feel good.

7. Learn some simple mindful practices - look up a body scan meditation

8. Read Dr David Hamilton's book How the Mind Can Heal The Body and Why Kindness is Good For You

9. Join a meditation group

10. Join me in person or online for a creative workshop - message me to keep informed or register your email to get updates 

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