Combining the abstract perspective of art critic Clive Bell and the elements of design, this project aims to create a non-representational form. The non-representational form will be dynamic and asymmetrical, the form will be no larger than 24 inches.
The goal is for the viewer to be able to view the non-representational form with movement and interest. I am excited to start this project because it is very open ended. I’m able to design the form in a unique shape to convey movement and use texture to make the form contrasting. I believe components of this project will be challenging for me, such as using different materials and creating 3D forms. I have only used plaster once before and I have never used chicken wire. I am used to painting and drawing 2D more than creating sculptures.
Idea One: For my first idea I combined an octopus tentacle, a beehive and a fire extinguisher. I really like the texture of the octopus tentacle and the layered part of the beehive. For the fire extinguisher, I changed the shape to a lightbulb figure.
Idea Two: For my second idea I combined an acorn top, a bell pepper and a dinosaur spine. In the combined piece I put the acorn top and bell pepper together but I offset them. I also wanted to make the inside of the acorn top hollow.
Idea Three: For my third idea I combined a magnet, half lego man and a gravy boat. For some reason I didn’t really like the combined product of this idea, it feels too compact.
Idea One: For my first maquette I combined my idea of an octopus tentacle and a cartoon beehive shape. I added the triangle shapes to create movement around the form. The cave is the conflict because it disrupts the expected pattern and it makes the viewer want to see what’s inside the cave. This form is the most dynamic because they’re different textures that create fluid movement.
Idea Two: For my second maquette I combined my idea of the bell pepper and acorn top. Unfortunately this maquette didn’t turn out as what I expected. The two forms were proven to be too similar in shape. Even though the stem draws the viewer around the form, there is not enough other patterns that move the viewers eye. The base is also sort of static, I should have put more clay under the form to create a diagonal
Idea Three: For my third maquette I combined the idea of a gravy boat with a half lego man. This form has a lot going on, such as various shapes put together and the pebble like pattern. However, this form is too condensed and busy to contain movement.
The biggest thing that I gained from making this was, the experience of working with unfamiliar material. I have never worked with chicken wire and burlap before. I think the most difficult part was bending and twisting the chicken wire into the form
that I decided to create (Idea One). I found the plaster easy to work with despite the time limit for it to dry. I feel like this project may be tricky because it’s easier to make the form large as opposed to it being small.
My Interdisciplinary Studies major is called Expressive Arts and essentially Expressive Arts is art therapy. My major combines the disciplines of art, psychology and writing. When I transferred to Plymouth State as a junior I declared a Studio Art Major and most of my credits were sadly counted as electives. With the option of an Interdisciplinary Studies major I had the opportunity to integrate a lot of my transfer credits into my major. This proved to be beneficial because I believe the courses that I took at College of the Atlantic, are just as useful and important to me as the courses I took at Plymouth State University. Art therapy is basically the process of healing an individual through creating art. Art is used as a broad term and it can include many different mediums. Some mediums include, painting, sculpture, drawing, clay, etc.
My applied project was to create an art exhibition. Despite the many setbacks that I have experienced attempting to put together my exhibition, the result has been successful. My exhibition is installed in the kiosk in front of Center Lodge and will be up through the spring semester. I knew from the moment we discussed ideas for our applied projects that I wanted to do an exhibition. During my time at Plymouth State University, I’ve never gotten the opportunity to display my artwork and I wanted the chance to show the community my artwork that I’ve put so much passion and creativity into. I desire to inspire others, whether it’s through my artwork or statements. In completing this exhibition, this applied project has contributed greatly to my education. I have learned many essential things through this process; I’ve learned about time management, expanding and finding new ideas for my artwork and improving communication skills.
My research article discovers the effect of art-based therapies on individuals with eating disorders. Within my RA, I give a little history on art therapy, an overview of the major eating disorders and case studies on art-based therapies with individuals with eating disorders. I also mention more traditional forms of therapy. I decided to pick this topic for my RA because I have personal experience with art therapy and eating disorders. Through my experience I am curious to know other people’s experiences with art therapy. This research article has contributed greatly to my education because I would like to discover how art therapy effects the process of healing. Through my findings in my research article, “expressing ourselves, whether it’s in the form of art, music, dance, etc, we find that the creative process is beneficial for us all.”
Successfully completing my AP and RA has definitely made me realize that hard work pays off. Being able to integrate those courses from College of the Atlantic and courses from Plymouth State University, I have become very proud of my education. I am thrilled that the experiences I have endured to come this far in my education and they will benefit me in the future. I have learned a lot from the Interdisciplinary Studies courses, not just about education but about new perspectives,ideas and effective collaborations. I think it’s important for an individual to keep an open mind. I kept an open mind about a new educational opportunity than a more traditional way and I am very happy things turned out for the best. I only have one class to take this spring semester and then I will graduated from Plymouth State University. Thanks to the Interdisciplinary Studies program, for I was able to complete my degree as well as complete my goals.
Wow I can’t believe that this semester is coming to an end next week! It’s crazy that this semester will
basically be my last semester, aside from the one course I have to take this spring. During the Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar course I used Twitter as a PLN (personal learning network). I believe that Twitter is a great social media platform to find interesting news, art and culture. It’s also a great platform to share your opinions and communicate with like-minded individuals. Now that my Interdisciplinary Studies adventures are coming to an end, here is a link to my Storify that highlights some of my proudest Twitter moments.
On Twitter I usually follow art or psychology related accounts. One account that I found to be more interesting was the Psychology Today account. I find psychology very intriguing and I am always up to hear more information about our emotions and why we do the things we do. I’ve written a couple of my PLN posts about Twitter posts that I’ve found on the Psychology Today account. One of my favorite posts is the one about mental health days. Mental health is definitely an important factor that everyone should consider. Taking good care of your body, mind and soul can lead to a more productive/happy lifestyle.
Lastly, my most proud tweet is the one announcing the complete installation of my exhibition. That senior project was proven to be quite the experience and I am very happy that I successfully completed it! Along with personal posts, I have also included some artwork that I have been inspired by.
In Guggenbuel’s Abenberg and Karl Kahlbaum’s Pedagogicum institution, aesthetic impulses were strongly applied. This impulsive progression led to the inclusion of some form of occupational therapy into practically every physical and mental health institution. Occupational therapy is usually determined by the different materials available, what the patient prefers to do and whether the primary motivation is enjoyment or occupation. Among the variety of activities successfully introduced were aesthetically directed art and handicrafts (Harms, 241).The various activities were conducted to acquire insight into tendencies/desires that may not be easily gained from verbal expressions. In the early days, artists, teachers and clinicians believed that art expression provided an enduring, moving and human experience.
“Neurotics find art a welcome means of expressing or trying to express experiences they are unable to verbalize. After having gotten into the swing of art therapy, they may even draw experiences they cannot and do not want to talk about” (Harms, 242).
The history of art therapy is characterized by a “rather long gestation period followed by a period of spectacular growth” (Agell, 8). Most of the early course work was a review of professional experience and case material derived from work with hospitalized patients, private clients, behavioral problem children and special schools. In the 1930s in the United States, art therapy was recognized in literature due to the efforts of Margaret Naumburg. Margaret Naumburg was a 20th century psychologist and she helped coin the term “art therapy”. Her book, Dynamically Oriented Art Therapy was published in 1966 and it illustrates how art therapy uses a psychodynamic approach that emphasizes the role of the unconscious. Naumburg believed that art could bring out unconscious feelings and she used art to help clients resolve interpersonal conflicts.
“By the 1960’s five institutions offered a total of seven courses in art therapy, taught by four art therapists and in 1971, there were four programs offering master’s degrees in art therapy” (Agell, 8).
In 1969, the American Art Therapy Association was founded and art therapists gained a structure for promoting their field. Art therapy training must develop to meet the needs of a discipline that was complex from the start and is not growing simpler. Currently, the United States offers 22 graduate programs containing concentrations or degrees in art therapy, 41 undergraduate programs offering preparation for graduate level study, lastly, 28 colleges/universities that offer one or more courses in art therapy (Agell, 9). Art therapy is presently applied in a more broader range of settings than was the case years ago.
EATING DISORDER OVERVIEW
According to the textbook, Abnormal Psychology by William Ray, eating disorders are defined as “inappropriate and unhealthy behaviors related to the intake of food.” The three major eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Higher rates of prevalence for eating disorders exist in industrialized societies where food is plentiful and popular culture places a high value on “the perfect body image.”
Anorexia Nervosa occurs when individuals restrict food so their weight is below normal, they have a fear of gaining weight, they lack recognition of the seriousness of current body weight and they have a distorted perception or one’s body. In relation to distorted body image, an article by Simona Giordano illustrates how individuals with anorexia nervosa perceive themselves in the mirror.
“Anorexics have seemingly contradictory beliefs, they believe they are too thin, but they also believe they are too fat. Body image perception is a complex process, it includes cognitive processes (how people think they look like), affective responses (how they feel they look like) and optative responses (how they want to look like)” (Giordano, 247).
The anorexic patient desires to become very small as to disappear. Which in a way is contradictory because extreme thinness is very noticeable. The anorexic patient not only pursues thinness, but also lightness. This pursuit is unrelenting to the point that lightness itself becomes heavy, burdensome and unbearable.
“The deep irony that loiters in Anorexic Nervosa, the more vulnerable and frail one becomes, the stronger and more powerful they may feel, because weakness is the sign that one is mastering and transcending the bodily, vulnerable and corruptible nature and is closer to floating in the universe” (Giordano, 249).
To go along with the article about body image, anorexia nervosa is associated with a specific endophenotype that’s connected to anxiety and perfectionism. The distortion in body image is from the anxiety to appear perfect and in result of this stress, anorexic’s view their body as being larger than it actually is. There are two subtypes of anorexia nervosa, the first is the restricting type in which the individual accomplishes weight loss through dieting, fasting or excessive exercise and the second is binge eating/purging type in which the individual engages in episodes of binge eating or purging through self-induced vomiting or the use of laxatives, diuretics or enemas.
BULIMIA NERVOSA & BINGE EATING DISORDER
Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder (BED) have similar characteristics in that they’re defined as periods of overeating in which the person feels out of control. However, individuals with Bulimia Nervosa participate in purging while individuals with BED do not purge. As opposed to the extreme thin physique of an individual with anorexia nervosa, those with bulimia nervosa usually display a normal body weight and those with BED are commonly overweight. The causes of bulimia nervosa are uncertain at this time, however, one’s self-worth is seen in relation to one’s weight or body shape (Ray, 358). Some of the common characteristics of Binge Eating Disorder is eating more rapidly than normal, eating until uncomfortably full, eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry and feeling depressed or guilty after overeating.
Study on Binge Eating & Negative Self-Awareness
I read a journal article about how binge eating is related to negative self-awareness, depression and avoidance-coping in undergraduates.
Heatherton and Baumeister’s Theory states that, “binge eaters have high levels of negative self-awareness and dysphoric mood states that combine to create a negative view of the self, from which the individual tries to escape” (Schwarze, 645).
In the article, negative self-awareness is defined as the combination of low-levels of positive self-esteem and high-levels of self-focused attention. Additional means of coping via escape include the use of avoidance coping strategies, dissociation and substance use. Therefore, research supports the hypothesis that those who binge eat have a negative view of the self.
– 207 female undergrads from a private Roman Catholic University in the Midwest.
-43 individuals in the Binge Eating Disorder (BED) group.
-164 individuals in the Non-Eating Disorder (NED) group.
-The first objective was to test the association between binge eating and negative self-awareness extending beyond negative body image or body dissatisfaction.
-The second objective was to test multiple forms of escape.
-The third objective was to ascertain whether between-group differences on levels of avoidance coping, dissociation and substance use remain significant when depression is controlled.
-The first hypothesis was that groups would differ on levels of depression, self-consciousness and self-esteem with the BED group scoring higher on depression and self-consciousness and lower on self-esteem measures than the NED group.
-The second hypothesis was that between-group differences would be found on the levels of avoidance coping, substance use and dissociation, with the BED group using more avoidance coping strategies and exhibiting higher levels of substance use and dissociation than the NED group.
The female participants were given various questionnaires and tests such as the Self-Conscious Scale (SCS), Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE), Beck Depression Inventory-Second Edition (BBI-II) were used to measure negative self-awareness. The measures of escape included three questionnaires assessing coping strategies, a measure of substance abuse and a measure of dissociation (Dissociation Experiences Scale). Along with the questionnaires, a demographic one was also administered. The purpose of the demographic questionnaire was to obtain general information about the study participants. Some of the variables included gender, year in school, age, ethnicity, religious affiliation and history of childhood sexual or physical abuse (Schwarze, 648).
The results concluded that the BED group scored higher on depression and self-consciousness and lower on positive self-esteem than the NED group. This result is consistent with the negative self-awareness component of Heatherton and Baumeister’s theory. The finding is also mostly consistent with the escape from the negative self-awareness component. No between-group differences were found on dissociation in this study. Substance use turned out to be a significant, persistent variable, suggests that continued emphasize on substance use awareness and intervention at the college level is important.
In relation to the two studies about anorexia nervosa body perception and binge eating negative self-awareness, eating disorders are complicated disorders that stem from internal processes in the mind. These negative mindsets make individuals with eating disorders, a lot of the time refuse treatment. The average eating disorder will last two to seven years once it has been diagnosed and the client enters treatment.
ART THERAPY BENEFITS
“Art therapy has the advantage of gaining the trust of the client by using a non-threatening approach that allows for control of the physical body, the art media and the degree to which the client will disclose personal material” (Liang, 3).
Art has the ability to move the eating disordered client towards trusting and expressing their own feelings and abilities. Rather than being “perfect” in their art, clients are encouraged to express genuine feelings. Art can act as an intermediary step connecting the intellect (words) with the body (movement). Art can be a record of the therapeutic process and serve as a life-long testament to the client-therapist-group member relationship. It’s always important to know who supports you and it’s crucial to remember that people have the potential to care and listen. If a client can effectively learn to express emotions through art therapy, they may become inspired to confront other difficulties in their life (including their eating disorder) with creativity, confidence and self-expression (Liang, 3).
Aristotle once quoted, “the soul never thinks without an image” (Wadeson, 241).
The economy of art can condense into an image, often more expressively and personally than the traditional narrative of a paper. Educators are beginning to realize that material with an emotional impact is often more thoroughly integrated and longer retained than learning that is apprehended at an intellectual level only. The personal attachment to creative work enables the individual to become involved in learning on a deeper level, and the autonomy/sense of achievement enhances the confidence and self-esteem important to the beginning therapist. Problem areas can be addressed through the art product to further the individuals understanding. Self-awareness is essential for any therapist. Spontaneous picture-making and processing provide a rich opportunity for self-awareness (Wadeson, 242). In this way, individuals explore their dreams, family relationships and self-image. The therapeutic encounter embodies the elements of a creative endeavor, rather than a more scientific approach.
According to an article by Inger Anne Sporild and Tore Bonsaksen, there are a couple main therapeutic factors in art therapy for individuals with eating disorders.
Support & Group Cohesion
Cohesion refers to the value of the group for its members and a sense of unity/solidarity between the group members. Group cohesion may promote activity, engagement and mutually preformed activities may promote cohesion. Using activities in groups provides a unique opportunity to facilitate safety, mastery and community feeling.
Self-revelation refers to the therapeutic aspect of allowing yourself to show others who you really are. Revealing the true self within the boundaries of a warm and accepting group can be an emotionally powerful experience. Openness towards feelings and expression through the picture and subsequent group discussion, seems to be an important aspect of the emotional work of individuals with eating disorders.
Interpersonal learning encompasses two different, yet related aspects. The input aspect refers to the individual learning from the feedback they receive from the group. The feedback concerns the individual’s interpersonal style or pattern of behavior towards others. Feedback can be given as education or guidance directly attuned to the individual. It can also be given indirectly, such as learning by paying attention to a group member’s behavior (modeling) or processing of events (vicarious learning). The interpersonal output concerns how the individual makes use of the groups feedback to practice new ways of managing interpersonal relationships.
FEMALE ANOREXIA NERVOSA CASE STUDIES
Within the case studies that I have selected, the inpatient facility houses patients with anorexia nervosa, the patients undergo a combined program of behavioral techniques and individual/family psychotherapies in which the use of art therapy techniques is strongly encouraged. The treatment has three phases. The first is the nutritional rehabilitation phase (with a goal of reversing the starvation state. The second is a weight gain phase (with a goal set individually for the tenth percentile for height). The third is a maintenance phase at that weight (with a goal of autonomous body weight) (Wolf, 186-187). The art therapist meets individually or in groups with patients once or twice weekly throughout the hospital stay, which averages 3 months. Within the individual art therapy, patients have free, unstructured use of various materials in which the therapist encourages expressiveness without particular structure.
“H.R.” Case Study
The first individual is “H.R.” she entered the hospital at age 21 after a 1 ½ year history of losing weight but lost weight more rapidly over the last six months. She developed concern about her weight and attractiveness when she was in Europe for the armed forces. She’s the oldest of four children with a chronically depressed father and an anxious mother. In the armed forces, she developed depression and suicidal ideation. During an art therapy session, H.R. drew a picture of an idyllic meal. She was angry that she had to eat so much, while other patients talked about their diets (Wolf, 190).
“V.G.” Case Study
The second individual is “V.G.” she began losing weight at age 15 ½ after being teased about her weight. She was hospitalized twice before she was transferred to the psychiatric unit at age 17. V.G. was a model student and the youngest of four children. She had an older brother who had a psychiatric disturbance. She lives with her father who is openly critical and sarcastic and her somewhat overbearing mother. She broke up with her boyfriend after beginning to lose weight. During an art therapy session, V.G. drew the head of a cyclops. She described the figure as deformed, with earmuffs on to “act out” against the mocking mouths surrounding the head. At the time, V.G. was concerned that the staff was ignoring her anxiety about her weight. She was also becoming increasingly aware of her father’s teasing and sarcastic criticism. The cyclops represents her feeling of herself as deformed and mocked (Wolf, 191).
“P.A.” Case Study
The third individual is called “P.A.” she is 20 years old and had been symptomatic for 1 ½ years. She had two prior medical hospitalizations before her admission to the inpatient facility. Her symptoms began when she left home to begin college. She was the youngest of five children. Her father was withdrawn and depressed and he had a chronically unhappy marriage with her mother. Her mother was domineering and emotionally controlling. Two of her siblings also had psychiatric problems. During an art therapy session, P.A. drew a picture of a moon, describing that the moon did not seem real because it wasn’t constant. She associated her fluctuating emotions with the fluctuating moon, because she had no control over her feelings. She explained that her feelings did not seem “real” and were therefore untrustworthy. At the time, she was moving towards being discharged from the facility and she was doing all the right things in terms of diet. However, she still felt anxious about the intensity of her feelings and desired for them to be constant and in control (Wolf,192).
Relating back to the case studies, art serves as a very good indicator of both the issues and conflicts occupying the patient, as well as the defenses utilized to deal with conflict. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but perhaps more importantly, a picture may express what the patient lacks words to describe (Wolf, 198).
MALE ANOREXIA NERVOSA CASE STUDIES
These next set of case studies were very difficult to find. I am curious as to why there are not a ton of case studies done on the effect of art therapy on male eating disorder patients. These case studies were collected in a thesis done by Elizabeth Helen Beck for the Masters of Arts in Creative Arts Therapy at Drexel University.
Doug Case Study
The first case study involving art therapy with an eating disordered male was written by Connie Naitove. The individual is a 16-year-old named Doug who suffered from anorexic and bulimic symptoms. Doug’s home environment was difficult due to marital discord between his parents, in which he was frequently directly involved. His mother had successful battles with cancer when Doug was 9 and 14 years old. Ten months prior to his arrival in the United States, Doug’s parents separated and his father moved out of the house. Upon admission to therapy, Doug was 6’0 and 110 pounds (Beck, 81).
At the start of therapy Doug addressed a couple goals, which were to gain weight, handle his obsession with his parent’s separation and to free himself from his mothers dependency and fears related to cancer. Naitove used an eclectic approach combining art, drama, movement and poetry, as well as transactional analysis and creative analysis in a therapeutic setting.
“With regards to the creative art therapy sessions, Doug would often choose to stand during sessions while the therapist presumably sat, stating that it allowed him to feel more in control. The patient also began refusing to include positive self-images or self-statements in his artwork and journal entries” (Beck, 82).
Feelings of guilt, ambiguity and the need for control were present in Doug’s artwork and verbalizations. One of Doug’s artwork depicted a lifesize figure that was faceless, monochromatic and standing in an unbalanced position. Upon discharge, Doug had gained 10 pounds and was considered to have a brighter affect than upon admission.
Carlos Case Study
The second individual is Carlos, he entered inpatient treatment when he was 23 years old. Upon admission, Carlos was 5’9 and less than 84 pounds. He had been gradually restricting his dietary intake for four years and he was socially isolated. Carlos was the oldest of six children and when he was 2 years old, his mother married a man who wasn’t his biological father. Carlos was not aware that this wasn’t his biological father until it was revealed in a family therapy session (during inpatient treatment).
“When admitted to the hospital, Carlos signed a therapeutic contract in which he agreed to remain in a private room with a bed and washroom until he met his goal weight. This took approximately 10 months to achieve” (Beck, 88).
Most of Carlos’s artwork seems to have been produced without the presence of the art therapist. He also admits creating numerous sketches before creating his final product, this was seen to indicate a need for control in his life. During his sessions, a couple themes emerge from his artwork. Some of the themes include, “the struggle to separate from the internalized mother, or mother image, the womb, fetuses, eggs and bubbles (recurring metaphors), control, dependency, passive aggression and regression, crucifixes and the sun” (Beck, 90-91).
Eventually, Carlos began eating normally and stopped trying to manipulate his weight by hiding food or vomiting after meals. This period corresponds to a series of violent and aggressive images such as cloaked figures stabbing one another. This may indicate that long, repressed anger was beginning to come conscious for Carlos. After 10 months, Carlos reached his goal weight. He stopped making rough sketches before making his final product and he started using larger paper and paint. This suggests improvement in his ability to be flexible, spontaneous and less controlled in his thoughts and behaviors.
“His imagery seemed to suggest more confidence with his sexuality and his conceptualizations of masculinity, anger and power, as well as hopefulness for the future” (Beck, 93).
After treatment, Carlos went back to his family’s home where he was able to maintain a healthy body weight.
To conclude these two case studies, there is a quote within Beck’s thesis by Elise Warriner, an anorexic patient herself who describes the role of art therapy in the process of self-discovery.
“Strange as it may seem, anorexia and illustration have at least one thing in common. They are both about expressing oneself without using words, yet one is destructive and the other creative. One of the greatest assets of art therapy for me was that I had a creative space in which to explore my emotions. Putting emotions down on paper also helped to make them real. No longer could I reject them as a figment of imagination, invisible and therefore unimportant. To a certain extent, if anorexia was used as a numbing agent, art therapy brought the pain into the open” (Beck, 60).
PERSONAL EATING DISORDER JOURNEY
I guess you could say my fascination with art therapy and the effect it has on individuals with eating disorders is because I have personal experience. When I was in sixth grade, I began to struggle with body image. Along with going through the changes of puberty, I also felt the pressure to be perfect. I desired to be that perfect teen girl who’s thin, pretty, has good grades and an attractive boyfriend. Unfortunately, all this stress to have this “perfect” life got to me and as a way to cope I began stress eating.
Stress eating to the point where I would hide in my room after school and eat a whole entire box of granola bars (my binge snack of choice).
As time went on, I began to spiral downwards into a deep depression, in where I pushed my family and friends away. Within this dark period of my life I didn’t count how many calories I would consume in a day but now that I look back, I must have consumed around 3,000 calories in one sitting. In a result of stress eating I began to gain weight in all the wrong places. I would try to work out but not on a continuous basis, I would work out every couple days, spending hours running on the treadmill. So, I was stuck in this repeated cycle of feeling the enormous pressure to be someone that I wasn’t, feeling very depressed, binge eating to find happiness and then excessive exercising to keep the weight off.
The moment I realized I needed help was when I went ate an entire two boxes of my brother’s favorite granola bars and he was very upset/disappointed in me that I ate them all. To this day, it hurts me to reflect on that memory because I can feel the shame and loss of control that I was enduring.
I was so embarrassed with my behavior; however, my parents were very supportive of me and they offered the option of going to art therapy. As a kid, I was always very creative and I loved to do arts and crafts. I began art therapy at the end of 7th grade, I met with the art therapist once every week for about a year. During my sessions, I did multiple activities that helped me build a better body image and gain positive self-esteem. One activity that stuck out to me was when I was asked to draw a life-size outline of my body. Once I drew the outline I laid down on the drawing while the art therapist traced my body. Looking back at the drawing, I realized I had perceived my body to be way larger than it really was.
Throughout art therapy I learned many essential things. One of the most important things I worked on is building up my self-confidence through accepting my body for the way it was. Once I changed my mindset, things began to change for the better, I stopped binge eating and I switched to healthier snacks, I finally began to maintain a healthy weight, my attitude improved and I attended more social events. The process of creating art helped me through a difficult time in my life. Art therapy proved to be a positive experience and guided me towards living a better life.
BULIMIA NERVOSA CASE STUDIES
Marcia Case Study
The first individual is Marcia and she is a married woman in her early 40s. She has been bulimic for more than 15 years. She reported a history of serious depression, several extramarital affairs, a suicide attempt and the abuse of prescription medication (Hornyak, 149). During an art therapy session, Marcia was asked to draw a self-portrait of herself. Within Marcia’s self-portrait, her face is made up and her hair is styled. Her body is nude and reveals a detailed depiction of her digestive organs and a cartoon-like drawing of her heart. When asked to describe her painting, Marcia is bitter and says that she had become her digestive system. She is displeased with her small breasts and pretty face.
“When asked how she might make the picture more pleasing, she said that she would take a little off the thighs” (Hornyak, 151).
In result of Marcia’s reaction, the art therapist didn’t focus on Marcia’s bitter remarks and body distortion. Instead the art therapist focused on the cartoon heart and how it’s different from the rest of the drawing. The heart may represents self-love.
Candy Case Study
The second individual is Candy and she began treatment when she was 29 years old. She had been binge eating and vomiting for 10 years. Also, at the same time of treatment, she was a recovering alcoholic. She had a recent history of prostitution and drug abuse. Throughout most of her treatment she was living with her fiancé. During an art therapy session, Candy was asked to create an early memory. Candy created a color painting that depicted a child’s room. The room is shared by Candy and her younger sister. They are in bunkbeds and off in the upper right corner of the painting is an image of a witch. Working from this piece and Candy’s various paintings, the therapists formulated a view of a disengaged family with a powerful but emotional absent mother.
“By using art therapy techniques, therapists can gain access to deeply held issues that are often outside conscious recall or verbal recounting. Additionally, art therapy allows therapists to identify, describe and monitor the specific structural defects that are unique to each individual client” (Hornyak, 164).
OTHER ART BASED THERAPIES
Even though the majority of my research was conducted on the behalf of art therapy, I am also interested in traditional as well as arts-based therapies for individuals with eating disorders.
“In the past several decades, emergence of multidisciplinary approaches such as the incorporation of experiential therapies in combination with one or more traditional forms of therapy in the comprehensive treatment of eating disorders” (Frisch, 131-132).
Arts-based therapies include, music therapy, dance/movement therapy and creative arts therapy. Programs offer a wide variety of reasons for incorporating arts-based therapies, such as, self-discovery, self-exploration and self-expression. Other programs report that arts-based therapies allow clients to face and challenge issues such as self-esteem, body image, depression and the tendency to isolate by providing an alternative, healthy outlet for expression of emotions and development of positive coping skills.
Music is often used in the treatment of eating disorders as a tool for self-discovery or as a method for relaxation. A wide variety of songs may be used in this therapy and song selection is typically based on the individual characteristics of an individual or group. Music may be played during meal time to alleviate anxiety, psychological and physical discomfort that is often experienced after meals when patients can become preoccupied with thoughts of purging or feelings of guilt (Bibb,1). Case studies derived from patient’s experiences have described feelings of renewed self-confidence and empowerment through participation in music therapy.
Music Therapy Study
This study was conducted in an inpatient eating disorder program situated in an acute psychiatric unit. The program is for adults with severe anorexia nervosa, who were unable to recover through outpatient treatment. The average age of the patients is 22 years old and they are predominately young women. The study aimed to determine if participation in music therapy decreased subjective distress during post-meal support and to understand how participants described their experiences of music therapy during this time.
Eighteen participants attended music therapy intervention twice per week for the duration of their admission. During the music therapy sessions, participants were encouraged to partake in singing and listening to songs, talking about and sharing music with others and writing songs together. The music therapist maintained a perspective of unconditional regard instead of a more directive approach, common to cognitive behavioral therapy groups in inpatient eating disorder programs. The Subjective Units of Distress Scale was used to measure the participant’s anxiety on a 0-10 scale. 0 being “totally relaxed” and 10 being “highest distress/fear/anxiety/discomfort that you have felt” (Bibb, 2). After the meal, there was a one hour group session to evaluate feelings and offer encouragement on achieving goals.
In result of this study, participants reported decreased anxiety post-session compared with straight after lunch (pre-session). These results suggest that group music therapy is a more effective intervention for reducing meal-related anxiety than standard post-meal support therapy in an inpatient setting (Bibb, 4). Participation in music therapy may have acted as a cognitive divergence for patients, allowing time for the body to digest food while the mind was attending to something else that was engaging for them. The current study is the first to use music therapy post-meal time.
Dance/Movement Therapy is usually based on the idea that the body/mind are unconsciously/consciously connected and they strive to impact the mind through some type of direct work with the body. Positive effects on the body may often result in positive changes within the mind. Most approaches incorporate some form of psychotherapy with Dance/Movement Therapy. Others have incorporated Dance/Movement Therapy into body image therapy.
“By examining and experiencing different aspects of actual versus perceived body images, it is reported that the client is able to reach a more realistic perception” (Frisch, 136).
The body itself is tool and movement is the process used to effect integration and growth of the individual. Body image has conscious and unconscious components, which include positive investment in awareness of and control of the body.
A healthy body image is made up of three components.
1) A healthy body image is flexible,
2) A healthy body image is connected with the reality of the world.
3) The body image is three dimensional.
Dance/Movement Therapy Case Study
Ellie is a 23 year old woman and she has been anorexic for five years. She is also an incest survivor. The Dance/Movement therapist worked with her for nine months, once a week. One treatment goal was to increase her body awareness.
During therapy, they focused on awareness of sensations in specific body parts. Ellie’s pelvis was particularly stiff so they did various exercises for movement in that region. They also practiced touching exercises on the hand, foot and cheek.
“Through these exercises, Ellie was learning to use her other senses, in addition to sight, to become more aware of her world” (Hornyak, 273).
After 3-4 months, Ellie’s movements were stronger and clearer. She appeared less resistant and timid. Nearing the end of her sessions, Ellie complained that the dance/movement therapy room was too small, a symbol that she was getting healthier and needed more space for self-expression (Hornyak, 274). During the last session, Ellie created a movement that pushed her away from her therapist. She described the movement as a symbol for her freedom, such as like a bird experiences. Ellie says that she can repeat this particular movement in the future to remind herself of her own special spirit.
STANDARD THERAPIES & MEDICATIONS
According to the textbook, Abnormal Psychology by William Ray, as more standard therapies go, it’s often the family that pushes for treatment. Concerning underweight individuals, a hospital stay is usually required to help the individual gain weight. Following this, psychological or family therapy is the next step.
The Maudsley Approach is a popular method of therapy for adolescents with anorexia nervosa. This type of therapy is designed to take place in the family home rather than the hospital. The first goal is to help the adolescent gain weight without accusing them of having an eating disorder. The second goal involves the adolescent to take more control over their eating problem. The third goal is for the adolescent to develop/maintain healthy habits and personal autonomy (Ray, 355).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is also a popular treatment method for individuals with eating disorders. CBT with patients with anorexia nervosa focuses on irrational thoughts, mood intolerance, clinical perfectionism, low self-esteem and interpersonal difficulties. CBT in those with bulimia nervosa usually begins with a psychoeducational and monitoring phase, which includes discussions of regular eating. This is followed by a cognitive phase that emphasizes techniques to eliminate binge eating and challenge obstacles to normal eating behavior. The final sessions discuss ways to cope with relapse.
“About 40-50% of individuals with Bulimia Nervosa treated with CBT recover” (Ray, 358).
Exercise combined with CBT are shown to be effective in individuals with binge eating disorder. As far as medications go, neuroleptics are used for treating psychosis in individuals with anorexia nervosa and fluoxetine (Prozac) has been show to treat the depressive aspects of bulimia nervosa.
Throughout the process of researching and coming across countless case studies, I have come to one conclusion, the process of arts-based therapies is healing in one way of another. From personal experience to reviewing case studies, creativity benefits the soul. I was scrolling through social media a couple weeks ago and I came across this amazing video about a Pakistani woman who found her purpose in life through painting. The woman, Muniba Mazari comes from a very conservative family and she was arranged into a marriage when she was very young. After two years of marriage, Muniba and her husband got into a very tragic car accident. Her husband jumped out to save himself and left Muniba with serious injuries. She had multiple fractures, along with a fractured spine that left her confined to wheelchair for the rest of her life. During the two and a half months she was in the hospital, she became depressed and desperate. Her spinal injury was so bad that she will never be able to walk again as well as give birth to a child.
Her quote, “I started to question my existence, why am I even alive,” was very heartbreaking to me.
Well, one day in the hospital she asked her brother to bring her some canvas and paints. Within the video, Muniba explained how painting was therapeutic and helped her convey what she couldn’t express vocally. Once she began painting, she decided that she was going to live life for herself and conquer her fears. Some of her fears included divorce and not being able to give birth. Well, she let go of her ex-husband and made herself emotionally strong. She also adopted a child from a very small city in Pakistan. Muniba decided to share her story publicly and she has begun to accept herself for who she has become because “giving up is not an option.” I find Muniba Marzari’s story very inspiring and in some terms, relatable. We all have struggles that we go through in life, some big, others small. Through expressing ourselves, whether it’s in the form of art, music, dance, etc, we find that the creative process is beneficial for us all.
Agell, G. (1980). History of Art Therapy. Art Education, 33, 8-9. Retrieved from, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3192414
Beck, E. (2007). Art Therapy with an Eating Disordered Male Population: A Case Study, 58-95. Retrieved from, http://idea.library.drexel.edu/islandora/objects/idea%3A2956
Bibb, J. Castle, D. & Newton, R. (2015) The Role of Music Therapy in Reducing Post Meal Related Anxiety for Patients with Anorexia Nervosa. Journal of Eating Disorders, 1-5. DOI: 10.1186/s40337-015-008-5
Frisch, M. (2006) Arts-Based Therapies in the Treatment of Eating Disorders, 14, 131-142. DOI: 10.1080/10640260500403857
Giordana, S. (2012) Understanding Anorexia Nervosa: A Phenomenological Analysis of the Body and the Mirror, 19, 247-249. Retrieved from, http://muse.jhu.edu/article1489102
Harms, E. (1975). The Development of Modern Art Therapy, 8, 241-244. Retrieved from, http://muse.jhu.edu/article/599160/summary
Hornyak, L. & Baker, E. (1989). Experiential Therapies for Eating Disorders. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Liang, J. Art Therapy in the Treatment of Eating Disorders. Retrieved from, http://www.arttherapy.worldcongress.hu/admin/kepek/downloads/zlburton.doc
Public speaking, wow, even typing the word is giving me anxiety. I describe myself as a fairly quiet individual, I’m not usually one to raise my hand in class or even speak a lot in art critiques. What am I afraid of? Well, I guess public humiliation from the fear of being wrong. But why should this be a problem if society is progressively beginning to more freely expressive opinions and ideas? Well it turns out that I’m not alone. After
reading this interesting article by Psychology Today, almost 1 out of 4 people report feeling anxious when presenting in front of an audience.
As the years have gone on, I’ve definitely come out of my shell and I am less quiet than I used to be in high school. But regardless of how much more social I am now, I still have the fear of public speaking. Because of this fear, I am naturally more inclined to learn about ways to resolve it. Well, this article provides a couple different ways to combat anxiety related to public speaking. I also find it true that efficient public speaking is a useful life skill to have because whatever career you are trying to go into, successful relationships often are the result of effective communication.
Within the article, there are a couple methods to reduce your anxiety around public speaking. One method is to put your body in a calm state, to try to relax your body and try not to be super tense before speaking. I feel like meditating for a couple minutes before presenting can be an effective method in order to relax your body. However for me personally, I know the second method will help me more than the first. The second method is to basically challenge your beliefs about public speaking. We all have this fear of what we’re saying is going to criticized, well if we put all these irrational beliefs into a more positive context than we’ll feel better about speaking. For example, if you think you’re going to be criticized, what you have to say is what you believe and your opinions, so what if it’s not what another person believes, self-expression leads to new perspectives and ideas. The other methods included in the article are, shifting your focus from presentation to communication, preparing, seeking out more opportunities to speak and asking for help.
I thought this article was interesting to read because it’s very relatable. I feel like a lot of people, like myself will benefit from reading these helpful tips on public speaking. And one method may work for one person while another method may work for a different person.
If there is one lesson that I’ve learned in life, it would be that we all benefit from our experiences.
Whether our experiences are positive or negative, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we all gain new knowledge and perspectives through our encounters. I can definitely say that this capstone project was an interesting experience. I would say that this project encompassed a lot of bad luck mixed a successful ending result. You know the feeling when everything that could go wrong in your perfect plan actually becomes true? Yeah, unfortunately that’s how the bulk of my project played out. Do not be fooled though, I wouldn’t trade the experiences for anything. So here is the whole story of my Interdisciplinary Studies applied project.
The Original Plan
During my time at Plymouth State University, I had never gotten the opportunity to showcase my artwork. Even when I declared a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2015, I never was presented the chance. Last year when I changed my major and declared my Interdisciplinary Studies major I was able to create an exhibition of my artwork for my senior capstone project. This project is immensely important to me because it gives me the opportunity to finally showcase my artwork that I’ve put so much passion and imagination into.
The original plan seemed a lot more simple than it planned out to be. At the beginning of the semester I began to plan out my art work schedule. My goal was to add pieces on to a watercolor piece that I began last semester in Advanced Drawing class. To accomplish this goal I managed to stay fairly on track and complete one to two paintings per week. My thought was that I would put this multiple piece painting in my exhibition along with a large oil painting that I completed last semester in Advanced Painting class. I also happen to sketch quite often in my notebook, I was hoping to develop some of those sketches.
The original location of my exhibit was going to be in Lamson Library along the “felt” wall and my exhibit was supposed to be on view December 1st through December 10th. Because of the various setbacks, I decided at the last minute to change the location of my exhibition to the kiosk in front of Center Lodge. I was also supposed to have a reception but sadly, because of the various setbacks, I did not have enough time to plan one.
During this project, my fellow IDS classmate, Kayleigh Bennett has been creative marketing my exhibition. To the right is a poster that Kayleigh created for my exhibition. In the middle of the semester, Kayleigh and I applied for the SRAC grant and we thought that we would receive the grant money in the beginning of November. Well this proved to be wrong, yet another setback, we received the grant money towards the middle-end of November. With this grant money I was planning on purchasing professional frames and framing supplies for my pieces. Kayleigh was planning on purchasing posters and other necessary items to market my exhibition.
I would say that one of the biggest setbacks was receiving the SRAC grant mid-late November. We thought that we would receive the grant money sooner and we would be able to plan accordingly up until the installation date. Since we got the money later than expected Kayleigh and I felt very rushed and stressed trying to order supplies at the last minute. We were worried that we had such a time crunch that we wouldn’t be able to install in time. This proved to be true when yet another setback occurred.
Before we left for Thanksgiving Break, I had ordered 24 frames and 1 cork board online from Michaels. I was planning on receiving the materials after I got back from break and I would then frame my pieces and install later that week. Well, when I returned to PSU only three of the frames arrived, along with the cork board. I decided to wait it out and see if the rest of the frames came later in the week. That Friday when the frames still hadn’t arrived, Janina and I decided to go online and track the package. Much to our surprise, the package was damaged during shipping and they never sent an email to let us know that they sent it back. I ended up having the frames reimbursed, since the new ones wouldn’t arrive in time for my installation date. On that same Friday, I drove down to Michaels in Concord and ended up purchasing the same frames.
In result of the damaged frames and having to buy more frames, I pushed the installation date back and I decided to move my exhibition to the kiosk in front of Center Lodge. In this location, my exhibit will be able to stay up until I decide to take it down. Luckily two of my friends, one being the assistant exhibit designer at the Museum of the White Mountains, helped me install my completed and framed exhibit the following Monday of December 4th.
Successful Endings & Lessons Learned
So in the end, the project turned out to be a success! Kayleigh was able to get the posters printed and sent out to the art department. I successfully installed by exhibition and I feel like my pieces that I’ve created for my show express my imagination and creativity. Since the installation date, many of my friends and loved ones have seen my exhibit and I honestly haven’t heard any negative feedback. I have heard that my exhibit looks professional and that it’s interesting to look at. I am glad that I changed the location because the kiosk is well lit and people can look at my exhibit at any time of the day or night. On another positive note, since Kayleigh and I have received the SRAC grant, we will be presenting this project at the Student Showcase of Excellence in the Spring semester.
Throughout this whole process I have learned many valuable lessons, some of which include, time management skills and self-motivation. Because this project involved a lot of planning and artwork to be done by a deadline towards the end of the semester, it was easy to procrastinate. However, through this project I was able to improve my time management skills and I was able to complete all my paintings within the allotted time limit. Even though, I was crunched in time towards the end of the semester, I didn’t abandon the project and I found other ways to accommodate the setbacks. I believe the challenges of this project was self-motivation because when things don’t go as planned it’s easy to get discouraged. Believe me, there were times where I was so done with the project and planning that I wanted to drop everything and just be done. But I’d always think to myself, this opportunity is amazing and I love to inspire people through my artwork. Basically the”good” things outweighed the “bad” things in this project.
One of the more interesting/fun lessons I’ve learned during this project is definitely learning how to frame a canvas painting. It’s funny because I’ve never framed my artwork, I’ve always just either bought ready-made frames or used mat board. I thought the framing process would be easier but it actually requires a good amount of math and wood shop skills. I built the frame with my boyfriend’s help, we went to Lowe’s and picked out different cuts of wood. We ended up using oak and we quickly discovered that we should have used a “softer” wood. I would say it took about three hours to make the frame and I’m glad that I decided to build it because the framing skills that I learned will benefit me in future experiences.
My goal as an Interdisciplinary Studies, Expressive Arts major is to influence others through creating artwork. I love when individuals come up with new ideas through looking at my artwork and reading my statements about my pieces. I feel like art is a great way to express your emotions, ideas, how you feel about certain issues, relieve stress and unleash your imagination.
As I was doing my daily scroll through Twitter, retweeting some cool pictures of artwork, liking a couple statuses, I came across this article by Psychology Today. The article is about how the changing of the different seasons can lead to changes in our musical preferences. Immediately, I was gravitated toward the article because along with art, I am interested in music as well. I feel like
one of my best purchases was definitely my subscription to Spotify and Soundcloud. It’s so funny to think that nine years ago Spotify made its grand debut and finally we were able to listen to an unlimited amount of music. Through Spotify and Soundcloud I have explored endlessly, discovering different music genres, artists and sounds. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am open to listen to just about anything when it comes to music.
Anyways so I’m reading through the article and I find many things interesting. I agree that music is basically the soundtrack of our lives. We hear music everywhere, in our homes, work, parties, stores, the car. Now it might not be music that we prefer but regardless, it’s always playing in the background. On a study led by psychologist Terry Pettijohn, his team looked into the hypothesis that our changes in our playlists result from the changing of seasons, including the impact of daylight savings time. His team based their research on a previous study in which their theory was that individuals prefer content that is more mature and meaningful when facing threats in the environment. The idea was that soothing, slower, comforting songs were preferred during difficult times because they “resonate with the listener’s inner experience and help them cope better with their challenges.” I agree that emotion definitely has an impact on what kind of music we listen to. If I’m in a sad mood, I’m not going to be listening to some happy, upbeat pop song.
From these findings, Pettijohn and his team can say that seasonal changes can lead to emotional changes. One of the biggest emotional changes occur
when the weather goes from warm to cold and having more light to less, this is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (Winter Depression). Also the cold and harshness of the winter can lead individuals to isolate themselves, I know I stay inside and don’t go out when it’s freezing outside! Spring signals a “fresh start,” everything is melting/growing and we gain an extra hour of daylight. This is also a happy time for students too because the weather is nice and in result of that there are more social gatherings. Anyways, in the studies, participants were asked to choose one of the four musical preferences in relation to a real life scenario. Pettijohn and his team found that the participants favored blues, jazz, classical and folk music during the fall and winter months and rap/hip-hop, soul/funk and electronica/dance music during the summer months. His hypothesis that our changes in our playlists result from the changing of seasons, including the impact of daylight savings time remains true to his study.
I found this study to be interesting and I feel like if the sample size and age range was greater than they could get more accurate results. The participants in this study were all college students. Lastly, I found that the second to last paragraph of the article was interesting. I am writing my senior research paper on art therapy and other therapies effect on eating disorder patients, on a slightly related note I have read a lot about cognitive behavioral therapy. I believe that cognitive behavioral therapy mixed with music therapy could benefit individuals with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Listening to upbeat, happy musics may help reduce negative effects and improve mood.
This evening as I was scrolling through Twitter this article caught my attention. The article is about a mother who had previously lost her daughter to a heroin overdose in 2014. To deal with this tragic loss, Anne Marie (the mother) is creating paintings of people that have passed away from drug addiction, including her daughter. I found it very interesting that article is based out of New Hampshire, concerning the on-going heroin epidemic. It’s unfortunate that New Hampshire is one of the states with the highest rates of opioid overdose in the country. I believe it’s a good thing that authorities have been cracking down on dealers who are linked to overdose deaths.
Anne Marie created a non-profit organization called the Angels of Addiction about a year after her daughter’s death. Her mission is to raise awareness of heroin addiction through her portrait oil paintings.
Her ultimate goal is that she plans to create a traveling art show which she plans to bring to the New Hampshire State House and the US Capitol Building. Currently, Anne Marie has created about 90 paintings and the amazing thing is, she doesn’t charge money for the portraits.
When Anne Marie was painting the portrait of her daughter to help heal she described the experience as if her daughter was spending time with her while she painted. Anne Marie’s goal is to one day fund an art therapy scholarship in her daughter’s name for a student who plans to work in addiction services. According to research, “A 2014 study found that 36.8% of US addiction treatment programs offered some form of art therapy.” I am impressed with this statistic and I am glad that art therapy is offered in treatment centers because there are many benefits to art therapy. Some of the benefits include, reduction of shame and denial, increase in motivation and communication and art therapy is a way to express yourself in a way that you cannot do verbally.
Anne Marie uses bright, fun colors to create her portraits because she wants to shatter the stigma and stereotype of people who struggle with drug addiction as bad people. I feel like this is also a true stereotype, it’s is sad to me because people are so quick to assume what a person is like based strictly on what their flaws are. I believe this article is interesting because it not only reflects what I’m interested in (art therapy) but it also demonstrates an on-going epidemic in New Hampshire (where my college is located). I don’t think some people realize how dangerous and addictive opioids can be and it’s beneficial to raise awareness to these issues to help educate others.
So I realized that I posted this image of this model of creativity earlier on my twitter page but I love it so
much that I have to share it again! I came across this creativity model a while ago and I liked the principles that are illustrated in the image. The image is called, “12 Benefits of Creativity” and I feel like it’s a nice, refreshing way to display happy news with small, colorful drawings. Sometimes when I’m scrolling through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter all I come across are depressing news articles, articles that depicted all the tragedies and wrong doings in the world. Now don’t get me wrong, I like to watch the news and understand what is going on in the world, I just believe there should be positive news integrated with negative news.
The 12 benefits of creativity are:
1.Creativity is multidisciplinary.
2. Creativity allows you to express yourself.
3. Creativity promotes thinking outside the box and problem solving.
4. Creativity reduces stress and anxiety.
5. Creativity allows you to enter your happy zone and have fun.
6. Creativity gives you a sense of purpose.
7. Creativity leads to feelings of accomplishment and a sense of pride.
8. Creativity can link you to others with the same passions.
9. Creativity improves you ability to focus.
10. Creativity promotes risk-taking and iteration.
11.Creativity is a pre-requisite for innovation.
12. Creativity encourages us to be life-long learners.
I definitely agree with all of the benefits of creativity. My favorite benefits are number two, number four and number seven. Creativity allows me to express myself in a non verbal way and I really enjoy conveying my emotions through surrealist illustrations. I love that art has no boundaries, art can be essentially anything in any medium/media you can imagine!
I have a personal story to go along with the benefit, creativity reduces stress and anxiety. I while ago, starting in sixth grade I struggled with an eating disorder and my parents enrolled me in art therapy. At first I was kind of superstitious about it and I wasn’t sure if I would benefit from it. Well to my surprise, I found my love for art through healing during my art therapy sessions. I used art to reduce stress and anxiety for body perfection, I learned to accept my appearance and I gained a better insight on life.
Creativity does lead to feelings of accomplishment and sense of pride. I know that some of the best compliments I’ve received have been about my artwork. I secretly love when people comment/criticize my artwork no matter if their comments are good or bad, I find feedback so useful. Creativity is an essential part of the human experience and brings out imagination, new ideas and positive collaborations.
I feel like with all of life’s adventures and stressors we all deserve to take an occasional mental health day. Mental health days give you a chance to
relax your mind and refresh yourself. I believe that these days are very important to have regardless of deadlines that you may have due. One of your biggest priorities should honestly be your well being and how productive you are relates to how you are feeling at that time in your life.
I was scrolling through twitter a couple days ago and I came across a very cool article from Psychology Today called, “How to Know When To Take a Mental Health Day.” I thought the article was fascinating because with school work, work, finding a job after college, finding a place to live after college, working on my artwork for my exhibition, I definitely feel the stress of this semester building up on me. Knowing myself, I don’t really enjoy skipping classes because I don’t like getting behind in schoolwork but there definitely comes a point where I know that I have too many priorities at
once and I need to take a day for myself. At first I felt guilty about skipping classes, however, after reading this article I believe taking a mental health day contributes to your productivity in the long run.
Some of the key point in the article include; treat mental health like physical health, neglecting you and leaders need to care about employee’s mental health. Mental health definitely corresponds to physical health because when I get really stressed out, my immune system weakens and I usually end up getting sick. Never neglect yourself, even if you think you’re being selfish. Between balancing school work, sorority events and creating artwork I always need to have some time for myself. Over the summer and into this fall I have been going on solo hikes and hiking has helped me clear my mind.
I found this fact in the article interesting, “The federal Department of Health and Human Services estimates that only 17% of the US population is functioning at optimal mental health.” This statistic is disappointing to me because I feel like bosses should allow an occasional mental health day for their employees. With mental health days employees will be able to be more productive and happy at their jobs. This statement applies to life in general, sometimes you just have to take a day for yourself and there’s nothing wrong with that!