Angela’s Corner: My Art Therapy

1392400784342Throughout my life, I have found arts and crafts to be enjoyable.  Drawing simple doodles or quick sketches tends to be an outlet for me.  Even painting little pictures for my daughter and nieces has been a pleasure.  Am I good at what I do?  That really depends on who you ask.  If you are my daughter, she would say everything I do is perfect.  Others have said they wish they had such talent.  If you ask me, I would say I’m mediocre.  I know I have some skills, but also know that my skills can still be developed under the right circumstances.

Once I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I picked up painting some more.  When I was a child, one of my grandmothers helped me paint a gorgeous nature scene using oils.  That painting took me a couple of years to complete.  I felt so accomplished and pleased of the job well done, even if she did most of the work.  Today, I have changed to the acrylic paints.  I have become too impatient to let the oils dry and like the fact that I could ultimately start and finish a painting in one day.  When I do paint, I feel free, like all the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders.  It’s an amazing feeling of relaxation.  My paintings have not been anything extra special, just paintings for a few kids and myself, but the relief I feel during and after have been extraordinary.

I recently started to read up on art therapy which could range from painting to photography to sculpting.  Of course, there are mixed reviews, but most of them rave about the benefits for cancer patients as it allows an outlet for their depression or anger.  When we start to let go of the pain we feel, our bodies begin to let go of suppressed emotions we may have been holding on to.  As some may start to relax into their creative arts their bodies can react as well by reducing blood pressure and anxiety.

Whether you have an emotional outlet already – maybe yours is kickboxing or running – or you do not, you may want to take a stab at a form of art therapy that interests you.  I may have stumbled upon the benefits of art therapy without taking a class or seeing a therapist, but I have to say, when I am doing something creative, like painting on canvas or drawing in the driveway using sidewalk chalk, I’m drawn into this world of calmness.  There’s something to be said about improving ones well-being (mental, emotional, and physical).  If I can escape into my world of calmness, even for half an hour, I can honestly tell you how much better I start feeling.  Give it a try; see what you think.

Learn more about Angela’s battle against breast cancer.
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