This week at Brookhaven we are working to turn our minds. This is an important week as we are working to alter our ways of thinking that keep us unhealthy. These ways of thinking can involve cognitive distortions and focusing on negative aspects of our lives, and lead to depressed mood and unhealthy thinking patterns.
Very often it is easy to focus on what is going wrong. Unfortunately, this prevents us from seeing the simple and positive things for which we can be grateful. This art exercise can help us turn our minds from something negative to find creative and new ways of looking at aspects of our lives.
Find an object that represents something you consider negative in your life. This could be anything around the house that isn’t valuable and that you wouldn’t mind using in artwork. For example, you might use scraps of fabric or yarn that reminds you of something or someone based on the color and texture. Other materials you might think of are safety pins, rough surfaces like rocks, or an ugly T-shirt. Think about surface and texture as you consider this object.
Now consider the negatives of this person or thing as related to the object. Perhaps the yarn is scratchy or a color you don’t care for. How can you change this physical object to make it more positive? Choose an environment for it: whether it be a canvas, a piece of clay or wood, a piece of paper, etc. Add the object to the environment and develop it to make it into a positive.
For example, with a piece of yarn that is scratchy and an ugly color, you might paint it or glue things to it. Consider how the yarn relates to your negative concept. How can you change it to help you change your mind about it? Find one positive thing about it. Yarn can hold things together. It can connect two objects. It can be woven to create something greater and more purposeful.
While we usually can’t change others or everything around us, we can change the way we think about things. Find the beauty and purpose, even if it is small. There is beauty and purpose in everything, even in the difficult things. Small steps towards positivity can help us turn our mind away from negative attitudes.