I signed up for an art journaling workshop at Tranquil Space last summer, and almost didn’t go because I feared “wasting my time.” I’ll never forget when the wonderful instructor, Kimberly said, “Write down what you want by this time next year, July 23, 2012.”
My whole body clenched up. Somewhere along the way, I’d forgotten that I had the right “to want things.” Sometimes I feel like I lack control over my destiny. Art journaling helped me re-take the reigns. Boldly stating my dreams was the important first step towards realizing them.
What is art journaling? It is combining art, words, and colors to express oneself. Too “new age?” Artists and scientists have been visual journaling for ages, including Leonardo DaVinci, Vincent Van Gogh and Stephen Hawkings.
Traditional journaling/scrapbooking focuses on the past. Art journaling is about the present and future (like vision boards). My pages are celebrations of what I love about me now and visions of a more peaceful, fulfilled self in the future.
Seeing is believing. The words and images from my art journal have popped into my head during difficult moments. This year, I’ve kept up with my art journal and even made art journaling friends!
Psychology Today reports, “According to Elizabeth Warson, professor at George Washington University’s art therapy program, the regular practice of creating via an art journal can reduce your heart rate, increase serotonin flow and immune cells, and decrease stress responses.”
In reviewing my art journal for this post, I timidly opened to the page “By July 23, 2012.” I knew I hadn’t transformed my life as much as I’d hoped. Surprisingly, I achieved about 2/3rds of my goals!
Start today with:
1. a simple spiral notebook (I got mine at Barnes and Noble)
2. a glue stick
3. old magazines
1. What do I want by this time next year?
2. What are my three goals for the week?
3. What images inspire me?
(There are many fancy techniques – DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED. Everyone has their own style; mine involves crayons and I’m okay with that!)
Psychology Today, “Cool Art Therapy Intervention #4: Visual Journaling,” by Cathy Malchiodi