Individually creating a message about their emotions
Just as much as art provides a safe space to be playful and free, it can also be used as an artist’s safe space to work through issues surrounding mental health. Many artists will often paint, create abstract work, create a landscape, or simply write about their thoughts, emotions, experiences and feelings.
Individually, each of these expressions is different, but all of them have the potential to help a teen deal with negative feelings. According to the Mental Health Association of Canada, the artwork process allows the individual to work through issues stemming from poor mental health. Here are a few simple techniques that artists have used to help create a message or mental health expression.
Focus on the Words
Whenever an artist is thinking of writing an expression about their emotions, they will often focus on the words they hope to write. Dealing with feelings and emotions can take up a lot of time. Words only provide a few seconds to reflect on. By taking more time to focus on writing something, the artist is giving them time to get better at writing, helping them avoid writing impulsively. This can help a teen write a powerful message that helps them fight their thoughts and feelings.
Give Emotions Time to Rage
The term can rage might seem like an appropriate word to describe what a teen feels when they have low moods. The term raging was coined due to the anger that many teens feel when they are in their deepest, darkest feelings. In order to find the source of this anger, the teen needs time to feel it and express it in their art. By removing the person from the anger, the artist will be able to have a more accurate understanding of what it is that they are feeling. After the anger is held inside, the emotions will flow easily.
Focus on Impressions and Objects
Like emotion, feelings are just a specific sensation that a person feels. The way that the person feels will determine the design of their expression. A large part of this is how the person interprets the feelings that they have. Instead of feeling their emotions, they simply need to focus on images that represent them. By placing objects on a blank canvas, the person can focus on the feeling that they want to feel. In order to create an image that represents their emotions, a teen will need to find a different emotion that is currently present. For a teen in a dark mood, that emotion could be fear. After experiencing fear, they will then need to project it into the abstract form of an image or piece of artwork. This helps them to continue to let their emotions flow.
One time, a teenage girl was told that her work was the best she had ever done. When she opened up to her parents, they were perplexed. “What do you mean?”, the mother asked. “I have never received so much praise for an article before. Why am I getting so much praise when most of my work gets edited?”
“Well, when I wrote about my feelings of self-loathing, I realized that I wasn’t feeling self-loathing. I realized that my feelings of self-loathing came from having self-confidence. I took a lot of time to work on myself.” This experience taught the teen that she needed to understand her emotional experiences. By focusing on them, she will be able to create a powerful, and hopefully therapeutic expression.