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  • Writer's pictureAnn Christensen


I recently created a pendant at a local infusion glass class. It was designed to be a “sleepy phoenix” emblem in honor of my publishing house. But is it art? The short answer is: It doesn’t have to be art. The main thing is that I enjoyed making it and experienced fellowship while I was making my pendant.

I am also interested in art as a therapy and have used collage cards as a method for getting in touch with parts of myself that were ignored or silenced. I’ll discuss this process in greater detail in another article.

First, let’s explore the idea of art therapy.

5 Disciplines of the Arts

According to The International Expressive Art Therapists Association (IEATA): Expressive Arts is a discipline of helping and healing that uses the arts as its basis for discovery and change. All five disciplines of the arts can give you a richer vocabulary to work, play and grow a life you love living.

• Visual

• Dance/movement

• Music

• Drama/theater

• Writing/poetry

A life you love living

When was the last time you actually enjoyed the life you were living? When I “art” I am in a different frame of mind and can actually relax and get into a different space. Often I return to childhood and the joys of childhood.

Sometimes I reach a spiritual moment of being “in the chi,” or “in the moment.” Other times, I just diddle.

15 ways to break out of your doldrums

Here are a few ways you can begin to break out of your doldrums and into artistic expression:

• Painting

• Finger painting

• Doodling

• Scribbling

• Sculpting

• Drawing

• Using molding clay

• Carving

• Making pottery

• Making cards

• Using textiles

• Making collages

• Create an art journal

• Dance

• Sing

It doesn’t matter what you chose to do or whether you practice your art alone or in a group. What I encourage you to do is forget about whether what you do is “art,” or “good enough.” You are connecting to a part of yourself that deserves to be heard. Follow your curiosity and desire. If you aren’t sure what to do, remember what you loved to do as a child, or wanted to do. Explore the inner depths, dear Pilgrim! Above all, enjoy the journey.


Ann Christensen has been playing with art for over 30 years and still revels at the insights and comforts generated by the creative process. She is writing The Goldilocks Balance: Get the Just Right Life: Manage your emotions with exercise, diet, sleep, meditation and breathing

Goldilocks is the second in the Sleepy Phoenix Mental Health Toolkit series.

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It helps to begin any art or writing session with an intention and a quiet focus. I use the following opening ritual in art therapy sessions

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