The Benefits of Mindful Art

Mindful Art

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is proven to help reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, to increase well being, immunity and mental health. Helping people to be healthy and happy. Read more about the scientific basis of mindfulness here.

Mindfulness is the ability to be present in the here and now. Noticing the details of the images and symbols of the words that you are reading right now. Noticing any sounds that you can hear around you. Noticing your breath as it enters your nose or mouth, traveling into your lungs and back out into the world….

We run several mindfulness, Mindful Art, meditation and self care classes and courses from our studio in Manchester, UK. Check out our upcoming events here, or find out more about our collaborative work with other organisations. Read our loads our blog here and discover our free Mindful Art resources!

Being present. Noticing as your mind wanders. Kindly guiding your attention back to where you chose it to be…

Art

Creativity and art making is often something we did as a child and let go of as an adult. But there’s loads of research that tells us that making time to be creative as adults is of huge benefit to our mental health!

Play, create, relax and let go! You don’t have to be ‘good’ at art to join us for mindful art and you don’t need any fancy art materials. A pen and paper will do just fine!

On our MAPS course each week we draw inspiration from a different artist. Using mindfulness to notice our responses to their artwork. To learn and connect to the journey and experience of the artist, which we find often helps us to make sense of the difficult events that happen in our own lives.

Two of our all time most inspiring artists are Frida Kahlo

Image by Nickolas Murray for Victoria and Albert Museum

And Lubaina Himid CBE

Photo: Edmund Blok for Modern Art Oxford

Mindful Art

Combine mindfulness at art and wow! You have the ultimate chill out time! The Centre for Resilience say;

1. Helps improve focus and concentration

Coloring pages and dot-to-dot activities improve students’ focus and concentration by allowing them to channel their thoughts onto one thing. This releases the pressure of the multiple tasks, thoughts, and worries that normally swirl through their minds. DTLK Kids says coloring “enables [students] to develop concentration and focus skills” that help them stay engaged “without being bothered by the “buzz” around them.”

Doodling doesn’t necessarily mean that the student isn’t paying attention; in fact, many students who struggle with attention disorders or learning disabilities benefit from doodling in the margins because it helps them focus on what the teacher is saying. That said, if they are focusing all of their attention on doodling, it can become a distraction like anything else. Guided doodling pages such as Zentangles give students the opportunity to doodle mindfully. These rhythmic, repetitive doodles help students concentrate without using all of their attention. Encouraging students and providing them with tools for productive doodling can help increase their learning readiness.  

2. Assists visual learners

We now know that not all students learn equally and mindful art can be really beneficial for visual learners and ELA students. Young students may memorize words, but not fully understand what they mean. Having students draw their feelings, breath, and physical sensations in the body are great mindful exercises to help students fully understand what they are learning. This can also tie into subject-related coloring sheets for school subjects (language arts, math, science, etc.) or for older students who are more visual learners.

3. Releases stress by focusing on one thing

In her TED Talk, Art therapist Marygrace Berberian discusses how coloring is an activity that can contribute to being in that “zone” or state of “flow” where one is focused, confident, and has a sense of peace in the journey toward achieving the desired outcome. “We need to find things that are restorative. Coloring…allows a person to turn down the volume of ruminations and focus on the task at hand. There is mindfulness when we are not looking at our phones and focused on the here and now,” says Berberian.

Check out their full article here: https://www.centerforresilience.org/mindfulness-art

Mindful Art with The Owl and The Coconut

The Owl and The Coconut is lead by Gemma and Pam who also lead our MAPS course and Tasters. With a background in Art Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural therapy and Mindfulness we practice what we preach and use mindful art for our daily self care. We love what we do and get great feedback from the people we share the course with.

Participants of our groups have reported feeling “safe” and “able to be open”, developing the techniques that they can take away to help them “feel calm” and “able to cope better with day to day problems”. They remarked on the benefits of working in a group, indicating that it provided peer support and shared understanding. This is crucial for people who have reported previously feeling isolated and alone with their problems.

If you fancy trying Mindful Art with us check out our one hour MAPS taster workshop to try it for yourself and meet Pam and Gemma.

We hope to see you soon for a mindful art adventure!

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“Recharged & inspired after an amazing session with The Owl and The Coconut.” -Jodie Silverman, Artist, Mindful Art group member and now a member of the team!

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Watch this short film to hear what a group of young people from DePaul said about their Mindful Art project with us: