Stress, we all know it well. We fight everyday to keep our stress levels down and our minds clear and focused. And despite our greatest efforts to maintain healthy lifestyles and minimize stress in our lives, it creeps back in just when things start looking up. So if we can’t avoid stress in our lives, because lets be honest it is a constant, how do we at least learn to manage and reduce the effects it has on our well being?
I recently sat down with some what of a guru on how to manage stress and he said to me, “You love art, why are you not pursuing time in your pottery or photography to relieve your stress?” His statement got me thinking, and it reminded me of how my old pottery teacher used to say to me, “In order to find your center with your clay you must find your own center inside yourself first.” Over and over I’d rush to center my clay so I could just begin creating the shape I had in mind that day, and over and over she’d say to me, “Relax, take a deep breathe and find your center first.” To this day throwing on the wheel remains my happy place. I had almost forgotten how throwing on my messy smock, turning up some good music, and sitting at my wheel with my hands deep in the clay, ever so gently pushing and breathing and pulling and breathing, could calm my entire body. It takes your mind outside of the noise and draws your attention and focus only to what it is you are trying to accomplish at that very moment in time.
Art heals in so many ways – it plays an important role in giving people a voice they didn’t know they had, it assists people in poor health conditions deal with emotional stress, and it brings communities together helping people to engage in positive ways with their neighbors. Robert L. Lynch recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post where he talks about “Arts Action Heroes” and the role they play in providing art to those who are finding their way. “There are many stories to tell — stories of art healing, art educating, art teaching us about each other and art drawing together communities. These arts action heroes help heal the sick (over 50 percent of U.S. hospitals incorporate arts programs), empower the disempowered and drive the economy. Through their actions, they are helping to improve the overall well-being of our communities, engaging with people on emotional and intellectual levels as well as aesthetic.”
Lynch also mentions, “Something as simple as providing an open, public art space as a creative outlet for youth can bring new life to a community.” The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen is doing just that. Breathing life into the #community by providing #art #education classes this summer for youths 8-12 years old. The August class, Paper and Print Camp, is being held from the 10-14th by instructors Mackenzie Snader & Maria Tomassetti. You can register for it here: http://www.pacrafts.org/workshops/paper-print-camp-august-10-14/
It is clear that whether it is music, painting, pottery, wood working, jewelry making, graffiti, dancing, etc. being in tune with your artistic self and enjoying that space inside your mind and your soul can bring an inner and outer peace to not only you but those around you. Good, healthy energy is infectious and so very gratifying.