Creative renewal – connecting to our emotions

Creative emotional expressions

Creating art enables us to connect to and express our emotions and then manage them and, if we need to, to let them go. If we ignore our emotions and what they are telling us, we can find ourselves disconnected with who we are which can lead to increased levels of stress and in the extreme burnout.

Find out more about why making time for creative renewal is so important for us as helping professionals in my post Creative renewal – making time for art.

Here are a couple of creative ideas for connecting to your emotions:

Create an emotional colour wheel – start by taking a piece of paper and draw a circle. You can use a plate to do this. Then divide the circle into equal segments with each segment representing an emotion you want to connect to. A good way to start this is by focusing on the main emotions of happiness (joy), sadness, fear, anxiety, anger, love and surprise. You may have other emotions you want to include.

For each emotion take some time to connect to a time when you felt that way and allow a colour to come up that represents that emotion for you. There are no right or wrong colours and we all have our own ones. The colours can be as strong or as pale as you feel is right for you. Fill a segment in your wheel with that colour.

When you have completed the wheel, label each segment with the emotion it represents. You can use your wheel at any time to check in with how you are feeling. If you do this each day you will develop a more conscious understanding of your emotions and be open to listening to what they are telling you in the moment.

Abstract expressive painting – abstract painting is all about mark making and avoids words and symbols. It is about letting yourself go and trusting your intuition. When painting in this way it can helpful to have some music playing in the background that reflects how you are feeling.

Start by trying out your materials, playing with them and seeing how many different marks you can make and what colours you are drawn to. You can use any materials to create your abstract work but if you have soft pastels (chalks) or watercolour paints then use those as these are said to be best for expressing emotions.

When you are ready do a picture representing how you feeling in this moment, check in with yourself… notice your emotions, notice where your energy levels are, and how your body feels. Think back over the day and how you have felt throughout it, noticing the different emotions you have experienced. Then allow your intuition to take over and express yourself using lines, colours, and shapes to represent your feelings in this moment.

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