Wellness Wednesday: Use Art to Clear the Mental Clutter

Wellness Wednesday

Art by Primitives by Kathy


You’ve survived the holiday trifecta of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s with your family and friends! Barely. Family is great. Friends are great. But sometimes it can be a lot to take.

When you reflect on your time together, are there moments or memories that make you cringe? Perhaps it was that comment your sibling made about your weight gain? Or maybe it was the argument caused by your uncle’s comment about the Trump campaign. Whatever it was, there may come a time when you choose to Let. It. Go. Because holding on to that memory and replaying it in your head will taint your interactions with your loved ones until you set it free.

At the end of the year, I like to purge any recurring memories or thoughts that still make me cringe. I don’t like to carry that baggage into a new year. Especially when the memories involve those I rarely speak to or see. I ask myself, does continuously thinking about this bring me joy? Does it serve my highest good?  If the answer is no, I let it go. Here are three ways I’ve used art to help clear out my mental clutter:

  1. Visual Journal: I take a page in my visual journal and write a description of what happened. Then I collage and paint on top of it, letting all my feelings out on the page.
  2. Matchbox “Coffin”: I paint and decorate an empty matchbox. Inside the box, I add paper, notes, etc about the event. Once the “coffin” is complete. I seal it with glue or tape and bury it in the yard. You can also burn it, if you have a safe place to do so.
  3. Gratitude Portrait: The people who hurt us are our biggest teachers. I spend some time journaling about the individual or group, and find ways to thank them for teaching me about compassion, forgiveness, and respect through their actions. Then I create a portrait of myself incorporating the lessons learned through their actions. The portrait does not have to be a realistic rendering of your face. I prefer to make a collage of the “new me,” including the strengths I’ve gained from dealing with that person.

You can use these tools throughout the year as you encounter difficult people. You have too many gifts to offer the world to allow the mental clutter to hold you back. I hope the New Year finds you healthy, at peace with your choices, and optimistic about 2016. Be Well.