Art Can Be Therapy

Art Can Be Therapy, Too

Mental health is what you make it, so make it something you enjoy too. This is how I've been working on mine since my arrival in college.

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Since I've been in College I have stopped seeing a therapist. I know this isn't the best and that I definitely should be seeing one, but the truth is that I've felt like I haven't needed one. Maybe this is because I've found better friends, ones that I know will be there for me to talk about everything, or because I've just been too busy to stop and think. But when I do give myself time to stop and think it usually involves art.

I love to draw and paint, and it has been something I've done nearly my entire life. I would take art classes after school each week and even was a member of my high school's art program. But back then I never would just draw for the fun of it in my free time or to really just enjoy it.

Until I got to college. I remember my last day at my art studio back at home when my teacher gave me a brand-new sketchbook she had hand painted the cover of for me to take to college. She told me not to stop drawing and doing art, as she said I had a real eye for it. I remember packing it with my paints and pencils and my other things for college, saying "maybe I'll take these just in case," not sure that I'd actually have the time to use it.

But upon being in college I've found art as a way to stop, slow down and just rest while listening to music or running through my thoughts and emotions in my head. While I haven't finished a drawing or painting yet, as for me it isn't about finishing the project, it's about the thought, purpose and time behind each piece.

The biggest thing I've struggled with in the past year is change. The drastic changes in my family and my friends. The change of going to college. The change of my path in life. I've learned to love and lose things. Through all this, I've found a love of drawing places I've been to or family pictures of my siblings, my cousin, and I from when we were just kids. I dedicate each piece to a specific person or a specific memory that I would like to preserve. The person I dedicate it to might not ever see the piece finished, but for me, that's part of the beauty behind it like I am creating something timeless through the world around me will change. Ironically, the piece that details a specific moment in time will probably never be finished. It's a reminder to me that the past is the past, and only by venturing into the future can we tell the full story and see the full picture.

So while someone who opens my sketchbook will see an unfinished drawing, they're really so much more than that. In fact, if you were to flip the page over to the back you might find a stray song lyric, a capture of a passing thought, or an unfinished "thank you" or prayer.

Art is therapy. Art can be so much more than just a few paint strokes on a paper. It's about the artist, a reflection of themselves or of the way they see the world.

In fact, art itself is nationally recognized as a unique form of therapy by many therapists and psychologists around the world. And it's not just for little kids. You don't have to be "good" at art to receive something from it. What matters is that you find something that encourages you to relate your emotions to the world and brings you peace in the middle of a storm.

Therapy can be whatever you make it, whether it is actually going to see a therapist, talking to a friend, or doing an activity. Whatever it is I encourage you to make time for it, put effort into it, and pursue it—your mental health and emotional state of being are what everything else stems from.

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10 Bible Verses for Self Esteem

Sometimes you need to search for inner strength and find your own self worth.
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We all get those days that we just don't feel good enough for anything. Everything is going wrong. For me, I go to the bible to read the words of God. His personal dialog for us is filled with encouragement, hope, and lessons we can learn from. Here are my top ten verses that are uplifting and impacting when at the lowest of lows:

1. Philippians 4:13:

I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

2. Psalm 46:5

God is within her, she will not fall.

3. Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

4. Psalm 28:76

The Lord is my strength and my shield.

5. 1 Corinthians 25:10

By the grace of God, I am what I am.

6. Romans 5:8

I loved you at your darkest.

7. Psalm 62:5-6

Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on Him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and he is the fortress where I feel secure.

8. 2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

9. 1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

10. 2 Chronicles 20:15

The battle is not ours, but God's.

Cover Image Credit: chinadaily

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8 Unconventional Ways To De-Stress We All Need

Moody isn't always the move.

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When the stress of finals hits a little too hard and Moody is no longer the move, I use these tricks as a way to stay positive and power through the semester!

1. Plan a Trip

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While it's not always financially feasible to travel all over the world, I've found that when I take 30-45 minutes to plan a 'bucket list' vacation, my stress levels almost always decrease. Granted, I'm a Type-A person so planning gives me extreme joy. I love to look up cheap flights on Google Flights for a date in the future and then plan a trip around it; I'll go onto TripAdvisor and find an ideal hotel, a list of things I want to do, and restaurants I want to eat at. Maybe the trip isn't happening YET, but who knows? At least you'll have it planned when you actually do get to visit that dream destination in the future!

2. Make a list of short-term and long-term goals

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Sometimes I need to feel like I'm being productive when I'm not actually being productive. A bit of an oxymoron, but nonetheless I love making both short term and long term to-do lists of sorts as a study break. This is super easy to do in those odd breaks in classes or even between studying for different classes! Just grab a piece of paper and write down what you want to get done for the rest of the day, week, year... The depth and extent of the list is truly up to you!

3. Online. Shopping.

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Online shopping is definitely a de-stress method for those that love fashion like me. So if you have to be dragged into the mall, this suggestion is probably not for you! I personally love visiting some of my favorite store websites (looking @ you Nordstrom) and looking at some of the new pieces and upcoming trends. Being able to be enveloped in something completely unrelated to what I'm studying for is much needed at times!

4. Go for a walk around campus/ town

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Sometimes I start to go 'stir crazy' if I've been sitting inside for too long! I love putting in some earbuds and going for a walk around campus if it's a pretty day, just to get a break from staring at a computer. And, okay yes, I usually treat myself to a coffee while I'm out (CG is the move if you're at Baylor)!

5. Get some friends together and make a treat of some sort

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Sometimes at the end of a long study day, my friends and I just want to do something low-key and fun. A lot of times my friends and I will go to the store and get a couple of ingredients to make a dessert together. These do not have to be elaborate. Some of the things my friends and I have baked this year include a cookie log, peep s'mores, and pre-made cookies. We're not exactly honing in on our culinary/baking skills, but it's fun to spend time together and have a yummy end result!

6. Make some tea, diffuse some essential oil, and do a face mask

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I absolutely love doing a 'self-care' night every once in a while. When I have a test I, along with many others I'm sure, can get super stressed and anxious! One thing that really helps calm me down is putting on a face mask, making myself some tea, and diffusing some essential oils. I use this time to read my Bible, catch up on a TV show, or just listen to music. As important as it is to prepare well for the test/final, it helps me so much to schedule in some "relaxation" time as well!

7. Use a journal either to reflect on the day or sketch

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I'm going to preface this by saying, I am not artsy at all. However, sometimes getting out a journal and sketching/doodling is a great way to de-stress in the midst of studying! I also really enjoy using a journal to write reflections/prayers/ quotes I love as a way to break up the studying as well.

8. Make a presentation on something you're excited about

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This is for all you fellow type-A personality, planners like me! One of my favorite ways to relax and reward myself after studying is to make a presentation (google slide presentation to be exact) of some events/places/plans I'm excited for. I've made presentations detailing what my friends and I will do in the summer, travel plans, and a study-abroad information presentation for my parents, amongst other things.

Hopefully, these ideas will help get y'all through the stress of the final exams/tests/quizzes to come. Though unconventional, these are just some of the ways I remind myself that there is ultimately more to life than school and studying!

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