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How art journaling helps navigate emotions

Many times we find our feelings gnawing at us from inside. You feel lost and unable to find calm within an ocean of wandering emotions. When we keep our feelings and anxieties inside, it just expands. You feel overwhelmed by it and unable to understand it, unless you find a release and process it.

One such way to understand what’s inside of you is art journaling. It has proven effective in many ways to deal with overwhelming emotions and anxiety. The best part about art journaling is, of course, the art-making. All of us struggle with articulation and self-expression. Art provides a perfect canvas (pun intended!) for you to explore your headspace and reach out to places that words cannot. It gives us space to process and understand our feelings in a non-intimidating way.

“Art-making, as opposed to verbal processing, can help to get past our egos, defences, over-thinking and analysing to access what we’re feeling underneath as well as internal strengths and resources we may not realize are there,” says Hannah Wilson, Professional counsellor and art therapist.

Journaling has always remained an important method to process your thoughts, where you log in your personal life, thoughts and views as a way to understand and reclaim events in life, find a safe space to vent, and even measure personal growth. There are various ways one can journal, one of them is art. Art has proved to be a method that not only becomes a venting process but also to be a lot more therapeutic. The play of colours, the innate attractiveness of monochrome in sketches, anything remotely related to art always has a profound impact on our mind. It creates a therapeutic channel for your emotions, where you can gain personal insights and accept your emotions, fears, hopes and dreams.

The effectiveness of art journaling comes into play when you acknowledge your feelings and thoughts, and then release it on paper which reduces the intensity of these feelings. It also serves another purpose- a way to preserve memory. Art journaling helps you keep and remember things that you want, which later may also help you understand personal growth, revisit a few things in your life, etc.

There is ample space for creativity in art journaling. It is your safe space, your sanctum for you to discover yourself, navigate your own emotions and thoughts, discover strengths. How and what you choose to create is completely up to you. There is complete creative freedom since it is yourself that you are encouraging to heal through this.

I took up art journaling this year, initially as a way to enhance my skills and use up a journal I brought back from a trip, but then soon enough it became my venting space. I painted memories of places, people, events that mattered to me. It helped me relive everything and relish in its joy if it was a beautiful memory, or process the past and appreciate how better I feel in case it was a memory that was painful. It helped me manage my anxieties and anger whenever I felt frustrated or scared. Art helped me whenever I was at loss of words in articulation. 

Art in itself is very powerful and empowering. It becomes your friend that helps you understand and navigate through your own mind and feelings. It will help keep your anxieties in check, and you will end up appreciating yourself more and engage our mind in positivity. 

by - Athira

graphic by - Rozanne Jojo

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