I’ve been focusing a lot on anxiety lately. (If you missed my recent posts on coping tools for anxiety and panic, you can click on these links.) One of the things that I have noticed throughout the years working with clients is that guided visualization works.
There are plenty of studies showing the positive benefits of meditation, but for many who suffer with anxiety, getting truly quiet means battling an onslaught of racing thoughts, so having someone lead you through can be very beneficial.
Another way to invite that “singular focus” that defines meditation is through meditative art. Today I’d like to offer you a taste of how both experiences can help you reduce anxiety.
First, we’ll do the guided visualization. Then, you can pick up your meditative art printable (be sure to print it out first) and create some images about your experience.
Guided Visualization for Anxiety
The following visualization is 12 minutes of progressive relaxation and release. I hope you find it useful when you are feeling anxious, or just need a break.
If you are feeling so anxious that your breathing hard, struggling to focus at all, or feel generally panicked, you will need to do some grounding exercises before the visualization. See my post on panic for grounding tools.
Meditative Art for Anxiety
Now that you are (hopefully) feeling relaxed, it’s a nice time to grab some art materials – anything you have on hand, and do some doodling or “coloring” in the blocks. It will be fun to notice if the “calming color” you chose during your visualization shows up in your art.
Free! Meditative Art Printable: Click on the Grid
How to Meditate through Art
– Don’t make a plan for what you will draw.
– Allow colors to “choose you,” instead of the other way around. The green immediately caught your eye? Start with green.
– Don’t over think what do draw next. Follow whatever impulses come up, no matter how silly or “ugly” they might seem. Some of my best art experiences have happened this way. Of course sometimes the product is completely unattractive, but I’m in charge of the art. I can cut it up, stow it away or throw it away.
– Let go of your attachment to the art “product.” The purpose of the activity is to experience the process of making art.
– See what your senses are noticing. What does the chalk feel like in your hand? What is the sound of the marker as you move it back and forth? How hard or soft are you pressing? What do the art materials smell like?
– Play instrumental music, or music in a foreign language so you are not focusing on words.
I made a sample for you. I wanted you to see that you can do something VERY simple and it can be relaxing. For my dots, I used Q-tips dipped in paint. I was filling in the grid all at once, so I repeated the theme in different formats in various different blocks.
Am I missing any important suggestions? Will you let me know in the comments?
5 Minute Art Meditation
You might also choose to use the grid as a “5 Minute Self-Care Technique” and just doodle inside each block when you need a five minute break. You could do this at work, in the car, or at the kitchen counter while you are waiting for water to boil. It’s always amazing to me what a difference even 5 minutes can make in the way I feel when I invite some art into my life.
Last Day for Early Registration for Mindful Art
If you enjoyed the visualization and meditative drawing today, you will love the Mindful Art workshop. Click the link to learn more and register. Register right now and save $14! I’m really looking forward to making art together!
What was your experience with the visualization? Is it a tool that you use regularly? Do you enjoy meditative art? What important suggestions have I missed for meditating in in these two ways?