In this post, I will be sharing 5 ways art therapy can help you cope with fibromyalgia. While you may have not thought that art therapy can be relevant to pain relief for fibromyalgia folks, I will tell you all about it!
I have a strong appeal to the amazing combo of creativity, therapy, and fibromyalgia that I cannot resist sharing with you!
So, take a mini-break from your Body Back Trigger Point Massage, and let’s talk about the awesome ways art therapy can actually help you cope with fibromyalgia!
First of all, whether you know it or not, YOU, honey, are creative. No matter how bad your fibromyalgia (or other chronic illness) is, it did not take your creativity away.
Get in touch with your child self. What were the creative things you used to do when you were a lil girl? Coloring, Betty Crocker baking set, dancing to Backstreet Boys, singing your heart out…
Believe it or not, tapping into those childhood memories of creativity can add an extra coping tool to your treasure box! Childhood memory or not, we are all capable and in need of having creative outlets to process pain and the uncontrollables in life.
So art therapy is under the umbrella of creative arts or expressive art therapy. I figured we can dip our toes into the big umbrella first…!
Creative arts therapy is a kind of therapy that uses all forms of art like dance, poetry, drama to improve the overall health of clients. Skill is no requirement! In fact, it’s a lot better when you have no experience in the art form because then you have an opportunity to surrender the need for control or perfection.
Of course, each art form carries distinctive features that would make your art experience differently, but they all generously share meaningful ways of helping people cope with fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, and other issues.
I will focus on art therapy on this post because it’s the most recent therapeutic approach that I had tried out of curiosity. And let me tell you, it was soooo goooddd!
I have so many years under my belt as a client talking and talking to all different psychotherapists in my life that meeting with an art therapist was an eye-opening experience for me.
First of all, I not only have words to express my experiences of dealing with fibromyalgia, but I also have a visual expression of my experiences–which provide information from my untapped subconscious mind.
Pain relief comes in many ways. Every little way helps to optimize your health.
Everyone! Okay, just kidding. If you would like to go beyond the external levels of pain relief (massages, acupuncture, yoga, etc), and would like to explore the mind and body connection with fibromyalgia, I’d say go for it!
No art experience is required which is the best freedom you can have because the art that you create is exceptionally filled with information that your body knows. Seeing the created art in front of you helps you to process your pain objectively.
If doing creative activities is pretty natural for you, you might want to look into doing your art form in a therapeutic way, intentionally connecting your art with fibromyalgia. Or even try an art form that you particularly do not excel in–which can be a lovely stretch for you
Also, you can try art therapy on yourself! Some people prefer to talk about their experiences with others for external processing and some people prefer to journal after doing the prompt. Try out what works for you.
So let’s dive deeper into the ways art therapy is such aid for fibromyalgia!
- It’s a beautiful distraction from your pain. Being involved with the creative process and engaging yourself with paint, markers, oil pastels (my fave!), or other art supplies help you to focus on the process of creating.
- You objectify your pain. What I mean is that the pain that you feel, you can somehow put it on paper, reflect, and talk about it. As easy it is to get lost in the pain that you feel, art helps you to extract what it is that your body is communicating to you. As abstract as your art may or may not be, the creative process helps to concretize and make visible what is invisible.
- You communicate your pain better. You communicate through your art and verbalize it (if you wish, of course) to your art therapist. Communicating visually and verbally helps to bring about a greater sense of awareness of your pain, but also the language that you use for your pain, and the relationship you have with your pain.
- Art can aid you in the grieving process of your health. You get to process your thoughts and emotions that were born from your diagnosis (or pain that is not yet diagnosed). The grieving process is not a linear path–it’s the Rubix cube we stumble upon in our journey towards Acceptance.
- Art can be a tool that helps build resilience in our pains, daily challenges, and unhappy circumstances in our lives. Art and other creative things can help us to stretch our minds, think outside the box, and just be a little bit more open-minded about our rainy days.
The messiness of oil pastels that end up creating a thought-provoking art piece, the vulnerability from self-portraits that remain with us in our prayers, or the impatience from collage-making that end up being a gift to our broken selves-these are significant moments that can provide us wisdom when we feel so blind to the pain from our bodies.
Do what works for YOU. Art is meant to be calming and restorative-not stressful to your body and mind. If you have trouble with your dominant hand, respect it, and maybe try something with your non-dominant hand.
Remember, there’s no “right” way to be creative. You gotta get outside of the box and work with fibromyalgia instead of against it
Pain relief is like a box of chocolate. Open it and try a bunch of them! You never know which one would work best for you
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