Some years ago I started attending a weekly art group for men in a friend's garage. I wanted to spend time with people I like while sharing our mutual passion for art.
I soon found that I came to rely on this weekly art group as a way to relieve the stresses of my week. It occurred to me that others could benefit from using art as a way to improve their mental health. So I looked for ways I could help others with what I had learned.
Art consumes you, when you’re in creative flow nothing else matters and you gain perspective on the things you thought were insurmountable, reducing mountains to molehills. Rather than the other way around.
It’s all about being in the moment, sometimes called mindfulness, being present with those around you and not letting the things that buzz around in your head steal your ability to connect with yourself and others.
Whilst not being a trained therapist I am a certified mental health first aid officer, and an accomplished artist who has recognised the benefits of art for one’s mental health. So, I built a programme I call “Art Relaxation Therapy” (A.R.T.) and now run this for both corporate and community groups.
The programme consists of starting with some personal mental health assessments so everyone can make an honest mental health assessment in their own words, and in their own time. The main focus however is an introduction to Art as a form of Relaxation which acts as a form of Therapy.
Art is a wonderful way to relax and let the worries just drift away, many have said to me that they feel rejuvenated after an A.R.T. class. I only have two rules:
1. No mobile phones and
2. No discussion of work or things that are worrying them.
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