There are situations that simply overwhelm us. Sometimes we do not understand what is happening, perhaps because the situation is so unjust as to escape our logic or because it touched our most sensitive chords. It is then when crazy ideas arise in our minds and our thoughts begin to move so fast that we can barely follow them. It can also happen the other way, we enter a state of apathy in which our ideas seem to have vanished and thoughts go in slow motion.
In such situations, when words are not enough, you can count on a powerful ally: drawing. Just take a piece of paper and some crayons and start drawing. Of course, drawing is not a magic wand with which to make the problem disappear, but after a while you will feel much better and be able to put some order in your ideas and meet new prospects.
In fact, drawing is a strategy to connect with our essence, especially when we let the hand moving freely on the paper sheet. The direction of the tracks, the strength and the colors speak for us when our rational mind is saturated.
The truth is that drawing is one of the oldest forms of internal dialogue, but only recently a study conducted by researchers from the universities of Texas and Emory found that mandalas can represent a form of nonverbal alternative therapy that helps people suffering from post-traumatic stress to relieve the symptoms. In fact, drawing helps us to calm down, find ourselves, improve concentration and even brings to light unconscious messages.
Drawing means to express what you don’t know about yourself
1. If you are angry draw lines and circles. Lines represent aggression, they will help you release anger. To the extent that this goes away, you can draw more soft lines, rounded shapes.
2. If you’re tense draw patterns. It is not necessary that patterns form a figure, they just have to follow a certain order, such as concentric circles or consecutive triangles. Concentrating in animating the patterns you will see how problems and concerns go away.
3. If you feel disappointed make a copy of a painting. Get a painting that you like and try to make a copy of it. Focuses your attention on the details, you’ll forget the thoughts that feed disappointment and keep you in a vicious circle of negativity.
4. If you need to understand draw mandalas. These symbolic representations used in Hinduism and Buddhism, generates a state of tranquility and peace. In fact, Carl Jung used them to calm his patients and believed that they contribute to the psychic integration since their almost hypnotic power allows us to connect with our more profound “ego”.
5. If you want to concentrate draw with dots. Pointillism is a painting technique based on creating images using small dots. It is an ideal technique to regain concentration, especially after suffering a setback.
6. If you’re desperate designs roads. One of the main problems of desperation is that clouds our view, preventing us from seeing the opportunities. So one way to find serenity and see beyond the fog consists in designing roads, it is a message that we send directly to the unconscious.
7. If you are sad draw rainbows and flowers. When we are sad, we tend to see the world gray. To counteract this feeling, draw rainbows and flowers, so you will be forced to use a large variety of colors.
8. If you are emotionally exhausted draw landscapes and nature. Nature has a strong healing power. But since you can’t always go for a walk among the trees, you can compensate by drawing landscapes that are mostly green, which will help you regain the energy you need and gives you hope.
9. If you feel stuck draw spirals. The spiral is the symbol of development, it serves to remind us that the movement is not always forward but sometimes even backwards. Drawing spirals and focusing on their meaning will serve as a reminder that there is no evolution without setbacks.
10. If you need to remember something draw it. A study conducted at the University of Waterloo found that if we need to remember something, instead of constantly repeating it is better to draw it. Creating images instead of using words, greatly improves our memory.
Wammes, J. D. et. Al. (2016) The drawing effect: Evidence for reliable and robust memory benefits in free recall. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology; 69 (9): 1752-1776.
Henderson, P. & Rosen, D. (2007) Empirical Study on the Healing Nature of Mandalas. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts; 1(3): 148 –154.