Emotions and Art

Emotions and Art

Emotions and Art 1707 2560 Peyton Rockford

Emotions and Art

Out of the dozens of emotions we have in our daily lives, we can usually name 3-5 of them. In a world full of change, loss, wins, and surprises, it is likely that we feel more than the 3-5 emotions we can name. 

Happy, Sad, Mad

When asked about feelings, we usually only notice these. Researchers who look at the connection between language and feelings have found that limited emotional vocabulary can limit how we interpret our experiences. For example, if we label a situation as a disaster, we are more likely to be overwhelmed by it and have negative associations with the situation. On the other hand, if we can think about that same situation as causing us to feel overwhelmed because we were tired, we are able to think about the situation in a more balanced and nuanced way. If we have a limited emotional vocabulary, it is difficult to decipher what we are feeling. Additionally, it is healthy for us to learn that we have the capacity to feel multiple emotions at the same time. 

Why does that matter?

“Without understanding how our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors work together, it’s almost impossible to find our way back to ourselves and each other.”
-Brené Brown

In understanding our feelings, we are opening ourselves up to the endless array of human experiences that ultimately give us a deeper sense of self.

What does this have to do with art? 

In childhood, we often used art as a medium to draw our pictures for our families, color a sheet for a friend, etc. As a child we were putting a feeling on paper and handing it to another individual as if to say, “This is how I feel about you.” In those moments, we were using our innate abilities to be creative and express ourselves in ways we didn’t yet have the vocabulary for.

But what if I’m not creative?  

To be human is to be creative. You don’t have to be an expert to be creative, it is built into you, it is already a part of you.

Creativity in and of itself is full of limitless possibilities such as:

  • Tending to weeds in your garden
  • Doodling on the side of your papers
  • Re-purposing an old dresser
  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Knitting/Crocheting
  • Writing
  • Acting
  • Singing
  • Playing instruments
  • Doing hair
  • Putting outfits together
  • Coming up with fun activities to do with friends

Creativity doesn’t have to come in beautiful masterpieces painted on canvases, it can mean coming exactly as you are. Creating with a messy heart and a messy canvas can help our heads and hearts make a path towards each other. 

Incorporating emotions into your chosen form of art is what takes practice, and what ultimately leads you to a deeper understanding of yourself. By choosing an art form that helps us to understand ourselves better, we are practicing the art of mindfulness. Through this practice, we can take moments during our everyday activities to notice the art around us. When we pause to do that, some of the emotions that are swirling in our brains may be revealed. 

An example of how to turn mindfulness into art to understand our emotions could be tending to the weeds in your garden and noticing what emotion is driving the art form. It could be an emotion of relaxation, rejuvenation, stress-release, joy, etc. 

In whatever form you choose, and whatever moment of life you are in, let the art be a catalyst to better understand your emotions, and yourself.

At Thrive Collective Dr. Terry and Dr. Menon are committed to walking alongside you in your journey to wellness. If you are interested in utilizing tools and strategies to transform your inner world, consider booking a free consultation today.

About the author: Thrive Collective’s intern, Peyton Rockford, specializes in child welfare. When Peyton is not working she enjoys reading fiction, drinking coffee, and creating art.