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Art Therapy - living in the moment

The human brain is complex, creative and has "minds" of its own. No one doubts the amazing and highly complex functioning of our brains. No computer even comes remotely near to its capacity and versatility. The thinking mind floods our lives with endless thoughts coming from our past experiences, sometimes crowding our lives with unwanted anxieties and negative material.

Past traumatic experiences can be relived in our thoughts, and then our hormones triggered by the brain's reliving of these moments, can wash all over our lives with unwanted, no longer needed negative emotions. When this happens we need to "switch off" these unwanted invasions from our past and live in the present, in the moment, where new experiences and fresh opportunities are there for the taking.

However, what we choose to do right now, at this moment while you are reading this page, will become tomorrow's memory, yesterday's thoughts, a new part of our life experience. We need to open ourselves to all the possibilities which we encounter, and not let some of the depressive experiences of the past stop us from embracing our present and our future.

So how can "art therapy" help? Art by its very nature can be therapeutic. Simply "doing" art, being creative, engaging in the creative process, like physical exercise, has enormous benefits.

This is where the "painting mind" comes into its own. Because the brain uses different areas to operate different parts of our bodies, painting and sketching are using our fine motor skills, which are totally unrelated to our thoughts. Once we start to draw or paint, the mind "preoccupies" itself with the inspiration of the creative process linked directly to what is in our hands - pencils and paint brushes. In this way, the physicality of being artistic, and the visual stimulus it provides, replaces our thoughts with contemporary content - not old thoughts - simply "in the moment" inspiration.

As the canvas begins to fill with our art work, the mind engages in visual stimulus, which takes us one step away from those invading thoughts we are wanting to switch off. Not only that, the creative process brings about a new reality, a new experience, in the living moment of the present. We become our present experience, as the immediacy of the art we are creating stimulates our senses and energises us with a totally new experience.

We have literally stepped out of the past into the creative present. That is why artistic endeavour is so therapeutic, satisfying and inspirational. That is why we find art so satisfying, so energising, so therapeutic, so vital.

Every time we paint or draw a new portrait, a new art work, our whole being, our whole life is filled with the energy of the powerful and inspiring creative process.