Art has been a means to express one’s psychic intricacies for a long time.
Like many other forms of expression like singing, writing, dancing, acting, facially expressing, body language expressions and the likes, art is also one of them. It crosses all bars as people from all aspects of life can express themselves through creativity.
Art therapy is an independent type of therapy which integrates psychotherapeutic techniques to use of creative techniques like sketching, shading, coloring, painting, clay molding, sculpting which helps people express themselves artistically, along the way leaving behind psychological undertones of their art.
Psychologists have long understood the underpinnings of people’s artwork and have considered creativity as a means to maintain a person’s mental well-being by addressing a range of psychological issues. Some areas of mental health concerns like Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, eating disorders, trauma, abuse and other emotional disturbances receive significant results from art therapy.
Art therapists often influence their clients to use geometric shapes and patterns to help create a mental balance that their lives lack. This form of art therapy is known as mandala art therapy.
Mandalas have recently gained a lot of reputation in the world of art therapy and as a means to alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression and several other mental health issues.
You don’t have to be a seasoned artist to take advantage of the benefits of art therapy. While if you want to undergo art therapy to reduce symptoms of your mental disorders, or cure it, you have to make an appointment with a credentialed art therapist. But if you want to take small steps to beat your daily stress and relax by the end of the day, all you have to gather is paraphernalia and introduce some art in your life.
What is a Mandala?
Mandala is a Sanskrit word which “circle” or “discoid object” is a geometric design holding significance in many cultures like Buddhism and Hinduism.
Mandalas are symbolic of different aspects of the universe. It is also instrumental to meditation and symbolizes prayer in different parts of the world, especially, Tibet, China and Japan.
Circles are a powerful geometric shape, found in almost all cultures and religions. In Hinduism and Christianity we see it as halos, in prayer wheels, other religious symbols. This shape is also prominently used in architecture, sculptures and in nature.
Mandalas are actually created like drawing, sketching or painting. Or they are sometimes built on sand and are temporary. The making of a mandala involves the use of a circle, which is filled with other geometric shapes of various sizes. The shapes are often repeated in symmetrical sequences to make a unique and intricate design of attractive color schemes. They are typically created on paper using colors or are made on fabric. They can also be engraved on stones, carved on bronze, silver, and other metals and also embroidered on clothes. It can be done on a number of different textures and surfaces.
Mandalas are a spiritual circle which can have two interpretations:
On the surface level it is the pictorial representation of the universe and on a deeper level, it signifies the journey of each soul to result in the ultimate union with the supreme power. Hindu and Buddhist religion believe that by entering the mandala and approaching towards it’s center, you absorb the cosmic force to transform the suffering of universe into joy and contentment.
The process of both creating and interpreting the mandala is focused on centering the body and mind, aligned to each other, which is why this is a powerful tool of meditation.
Use of Mandalas to benefit therapeutically:
Mandalas of all sorts of colors, designs, and sizes are equally intriguing to look at. At first glance, mandalas have a hypothesizing effect on our minds, especially when they are created with precision and by using symmetrical patterns.
The center of the mandalas strongly stands out among the back-drop of designs which make the mandala more beautiful. The design itself seems to be pulling you deeper inside. You must have seen a mandala. If you haven’t already, just take a look here to experience what I mean.
You don’t need to make mandalas this complex. It can be simpler than this. Mandalas are not only fun to make and soothing to look at but are also healing and nourishing in nature. Making mandalas take a lot of patience, control, and concentration (which is evident from the images).
The gripping effect the mandalas have can be used to look at and meditate.
Coloring a mandala using coloring pencil, sketch pens, crayons, or watercolor (any medium you prefer) not only provides you with the benefits of meditation but also helps you to inculcate creativity in your daily lives. Mandalas are a simple tool which does not require expertise on your part, yet when imparted in your daily routine can be extremely soothing and help reduce your stress and anxiety.