Creative expression bridges the mind, body, and emotions. It’s a way to discover our deeper parts and, quite often, learn something new and fascinating about ourselves.
There’s a lot of neat science behind mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT). Things like the way our body starts to heal when we get into a calm flow state. The “rest and digest” state we all need more of these days to counteract overstimulation from cellphones and stimulants, from chaos in the news, the crushing cost of living, and constant fear and anxiety that somehow has become our way of life.
When we take some time to chill out and focus on something we enjoy, our nervous system is allowed to take a breath and realize hey, I am safe now. Stress hormones drop., feel-good chemicals go up, and whatever needs dealing with can now be done from a calm place of awareness…or just let go of entirely because maybe the problem was not a problem, after all!more
- Recovery vision board: Your future, your way.
Let’s face it, sobriety can be boring. To help our chances of success, we need to put all this newfound free time into activities other than substance use. To explore ways of feeling good and having fun without drugs or booze.
On a broader level, recovery means rebuilding. The beauty of addiction is we are crystal clear on what we <don’t> want. Because hey, nobody knows what should be avoided better than someone with addictive tendencies.
But as we leave the fog of addiction—hopefully once and for all—we face a big scary question: Now what?
Let’s start by getting out of our heads and getting into our hands.
The point is to have fun and experience the magic of creation. But there is a lot more going on here….
It’s building motivation by remembering your dreams, the goals that fill you with energy and happiness. It’s focusing on what you want because you already know what you don’t.
Once you’ve filled all the white space of the cardstock with words and images of what you want more of in your future, it’s great to hang it up somewhere you will see it every day. It puts the power of focus and positive expectation at your service. A great visual reminder that you have the power to bring the changes you desire.
This is a great activity to do with your people as well. Kids love it and it can be a neat bonding activity with your friends or partner.
After making their own, some of our residents had to say:
"I realized that I still have the ability to dream big despite my circumstances and I should stay encouraged at the possibilities of my future." -JD
“I feel inspired to finally take my sobriety seriously and really go after the life I have always wanted.” -DC
“This helped me remember that I can still be a success in life.” -DG
"With recovery, anything is possible. And I had no idea how anxious I’ve been feeling until I felt some calm doing this creative activity.” -AW
“Creating a vision board is the most helpful goal setting I have ever done.” -JT
“I found this activity very calming and motivating. I appreciate the chance to do some hands-on positive thinking work.” -SM
Remember, for many of us our default mode is avoiding pain. The stick, not the carrot. Focusing on what we don’t want. An easy-to-create DIY vision board is a superb way to get your mind going in a new direction.
SUD Counselor, Progress House, Inc.