Advice & Guidance, General

A Drawing A Day Keeps The Worries Away with Beverley Haines

14th April 2020 Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Bevereley Haines is a mindfulness artist and psychotherapist, here she gives us ideas on what can help us cope with those stressful moments in life. Below she gives us tips on how to start a mindfulness journal.

You can see more from her here:

Facebook: Beverley Haines
Twitter: @beverleyhaines
www.beverleyhaines.co.uk

In these stressful times and moments of staying indoors, it’s important – now more than ever – to look after our mental wellbeing. It was as I was teaching mindfulness to groups of people suffering from anxiety and other mental health and emotional difficulties that I began to make connections between sketching and the practice of mindful meditation.

Which is why I urge you to start a drawing a day, of anything, no matter how big or small, of something you are grateful for. This daily mindfulness practice will help you stay in a positive frame of mind, or back to one if you need a bit of a leg up.

Sketching is a truly creative act. Without an observer other than yourself, the sketch becomes a personal meditation on a visual form in front of you. You look, you observe, you see line and tone and the relative placement of angles. The more you observe, the more you are competently able to recreate what you see on a page in front of you. It is a truly focused activity, perfect for mindful meditation.

Drawing helps me to stay in the here and now. I very rarely plan my drawings. I try not to think about them until I am doing them, and nor should you. They are not for a ‘purpose’ they are ‘for themselves;’ they are simply a part of the process. They are, in fact, the meditation.

The more I draw this way the more I am inspired by the world and kindness around me, even in such difficulties. I try to meet each moment without any preconceived notions of what is going to happen. Right now, we simply don’t know. This is a more freeing way to live life in times of uncertainty and create art.

    Beverley’s Top Tips

  1. Get kitted out. My go to travel bag is a Derwent Carry All case which I have filled with complete 24 sets of Derwent Intense Pencils and also Derwent Procolour pencils. This way I have the opportunity to build detail into my sketches if I want to. The Inktense travel pan set is there too in the zip compartment and is the first item I use to get the sketch on the page.
  2. Commit to your practice. Make a mental commitment to allowing yourself time to draw. You might want to set a time every day when you can take time, or you might just grab the time where you can get it.
  3. Focus on your breathing. Start each session by noticing your breathing. Develop a breathing practice that helps you to reset your nervous system and return it to a state of calm. The Human Givens website at www.humangivens.co.uk can help you locate a breathing practice called the 7/11 breathing technique. As a Human Givens therapist, I use this all the time to restore a mental and emotional balance myself and I teach it to everyone I work with.
  4. Develop your ‘observing self’. This is the part of you that, when in a state of relaxation and calm, can detach itself and observe the world without judgement. When we are emotionally charged, our thinking becomes clouded as it is overtaken by the neurological response of fight and flight, which is what we are living in as the COVID-19 keeps us in lockdown. Use the breathing technique as well as the practice of drawing to develop the observer in you. Concentrate and focus on your senses.
  5. Keep the practice flowing. Try to avoid erasing any marks. Begin to identify your rubber as another drawing implement. Use it to create white spaces and marks in your sketching.
  6. Experiment. Use techniques like mono printing and random ink blots to create spontaneous marks in your sketchbook. Study the shapes that are there and create a picture out of them.

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