Express Yourself

irises1

I know very little about art, except for maybe a few general things. I know that I like some art, dislike other art, and feel neutral about the rest of it. I know there are various mediums people use to create art, like sculptures, painting, photography, poetry, writing, dance, theater, music, and drawing. In another post, I wrote about how I find counseling to be a form of creativity. I also know I appreciate the work that goes into creating a piece of art, whether it’s something I like, or not. I am frequently filled with admiration for peoples’ creative abilities.

Another thing I know about art is that it can be a great way for you to Irises2express yourself. It can be a way to take what’s “inside” and share it with the outside world. It can feel rewarding to see a finished product or to turn an idea into a reality.

Artistic expression can also play a role in your mental health. One of the signs of depression, for example, is a loss of interest in things that you normally enjoy. If you notice a sense of sadness and lack of energy and just can’t seem to motivate yourself to do the activity you usually enjoy, pay attention to your mood and notice whether it lingers longer than you think it should, especially if it worsens or doesn’t go away after a couple weeks. Sometimes picking your hobby up again can be a step toward a better mood. Art can also help you manage anxiety by channeling that restless energy into something constructive, it can be a healthy skill to use for self-care and to cope with distressing feelings.

Some of my favorite art is from Vincent van Gogh who I learned suffered from a combination of physical and mental illness, both of which were made worse by his abuse of alcohol. In addition to his paintings, van Gogh also expressed himself through handwritten letters in which he described his struggle with his illnesses. Although van Gogh’s story ends tragically with his death at the age of 37, it is also a story that shows hope as he sought meaning and explored his mental and physical problems through his painting, spirituality, and writings. I think that artistic expression not only allows us to gain a greater understanding of the artist but gives us a greater understanding of ourselves as well. Maybe in this way, art acts as a way to connect us with ourselves and with others.

How do you express yourself creatively? In what way does your artistic or creative ability help you manage stressors in your life?

 

Inspired by a prompt from ~The Artist’s Eye ~

4 thoughts on “Express Yourself

  1. megbarad December 20, 2015 / 6:51 am

    Van Gogh’s paintings are beautiful! I like writing poems. I like to express myself by putting down words on the paper.

    When I feel upset, I type the things that make me feel so and I delete the file. Doing so gives me a sense of relief. I feel like I have deleted the bad times from my life. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mroddick December 20, 2015 / 8:14 pm

      That sounds like a great idea and a helpful way to manage stress for you!

      Like

  2. Thang Tran January 25, 2016 / 6:28 am

    Well, in a community where almost every man drank and yelled at their wives like where I was from, art is weird and sissy and a waste-of-time. I’ve had a tough time regaining my faith in art (and artistic expressions, i.e. Writing, craft, singing.). I’ve been deemed an outcast, a strange person for advocating Art, but it doesn’t bother much when I am growing in both age and spirituality. Art (also book reading) is my salvation and it empowers me to balance a stressful life. When you cannot express yourself, voice your discontent about the oppression or the people, just because you they are your family, I think art is great.

    Like

    • mroddick January 25, 2016 / 6:05 pm

      Thanks for your comment Thang Tran. You make a good point that sometimes the environment we’re in, whether it’s family, a specific culture, or a local community, is not always supportive of self-expression. It cannot be easy to feel judged or to feel like an outcast for advocating for art as you said. I’m glad it sounds like you’ve been able to feel empowered and find balance through art to manage stress. I think feeling empowered and balanced can affect your mental health in positive ways.

      Like

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