I stumbled across the Pain Exhibit website one day while doing a search for organizations that help those with chronic pain.
The Pain Exhibit “is an online educational, visual arts exhibit from artists with chronic pain with their art expressing some facet of the pain experience. The mission is to educate healthcare providers and the public about chronic pain through art, and to give voice to the many who suffer in silence.” (from their website). You can find out more about their organization, how to participate or even how to support their initiatives by clicking here.
I’m thrilled to announce the the Pain Exhibit has accepted two of my art pieces for their online galleries. I feel so excited to be part of this organization in some small way.
The two pieces they accepted:
This piece speaks to what feels like my daily meals. I take many medications each and every day to manage my pain and my mental health. This “meal” includes the four “food” groups – medications for: pain, inflammation, anxiety and depression
I have strong feelings of hate towards my body. Especially my back. It brings so much pain. But in this moment I tried to think of it as beautiful and this is the image I created. (I’ve zentangled other “parts” as well you can check them out here.)
I hope you’ll take the time to check out their website and online galleries. Lot’s of incredibly inspirational art there.
I use art as an outlet for my pain and emotions. Have you ever tried a creative form to express yourself? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
I love colouring. Long before “adult” colouring books became cool, you’d see me with a box of crayons and a colouring book. I find it relaxing, its my form of meditation. I get lost in the colours, in the lines and shapes, and for that time I’m focused on the moment. Colouring for me, is great pain distraction.
It’s been harder to colour since the accident, as my eyes get overwhelmed easily if the page is too busy. I’ve gone to simpler pages in the mean time and I also discovered the most amazing app on my IPAD called Colorfy.
Here’s my favourite:
I can zoom in and out, and there is a great selection of pages to choose from. I love especially that the app is free. There’s options to buy extra pages and colours of course, but the basics offered are plenty for me. I hope to get back to my favourite books eventually, but in the mean time I’m so glad to have this as an alternative.
A few of my favourite books to doodle and colour in are below:
Recently, an article where Sheena Bounsanga, a Certified Reflexologist, Reiki Practitioner, and Mindfulness Coach came to my attention. In the article Sheena wrote about the benefits of making a mind jar and I had to share it with you. For the full article -click here.
Quoting the Article:
“A mind jar is a great visual tool to help children and adults understand mindfulness. It represents our minds and illustrates how busy our minds and bodies can be with our day to day thoughts and emotions”
Here’s what you need:
Mason Jar, Glitter, Water, and craft tape
I wanted to add a bit more sparkle so I also used gold glitter glue.
Super simple! Add the water and glitter to the mason jar. Seal the jar, and add the tape.
Here’s how my Mind Jar turned out:
In addition to practising mindfulness, I think the Mind Jar provides great pain distraction. I take a deep breath in, shake the jar, and slowly exhale. I breathe deeply as I watch the glitter move and dance in the jar. I keep still, focusing on the glitter as it settles in the jar. And then I repeat until I feel calmer.
Glitter + Calm = Happier Me.
What tools do you use to distract from pain?
I’m not an artist but I’ve written before about creating art as a way to cope with my daily pain. I use it for distraction, to channel my energy into something positive and it also helps to fight the boredom that often accompanies chronic pain. When it hurts to move your body, there is only so much you can do in a day and it can leave hours of time to fill.
In the last 6 months I’ve discovered zentangles, and I love doing them. Zentangles are ” a way to create beautiful images using structured patterns” (www.zentangle.com)-follow the link to learn more.
Here’s an example:
Some people create random designs, or draw an object to fill in, I do the latter. I draw parts of my body and then fill them in with zentangles. I generally choose parts that are causes of pain for me. Like my spine, my heart, my eyes, I plan to do one of my brain. It helps me to envision these troublesome parts as something more than just a piece of me that causes pain. I use lots of colour and think about those parts of my body as being beautiful as I draw. Here are a few I’ve created:
My Zentangled Heart
My Zentangled Spine
My Zentangled Eye
Because of my vision problems, I can only do a bit at a time, so it can take over a week to even complete one. But I find it relaxing, soothing, and I like to think of it as healing. It would be easy for me to hate the parts of my body that cause me pain, and have changed my life, but I believe as I draw it’s a chance for me to channel healing love to them instead. It makes me feel better.
Do you use art as a way to cope? Have you ever done zentangles before?