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One of the best things my mom used to do for me as a kid was to tell me to “Go outside and play.” I grew up without an abundance of monetary resources, but she was able to save up and buy me a brand-new bicycle.

On those long summer days, that bike would become a large motorhome or party bus, and I would go on excursions looking for friends to join in. That bike traveled, moved across country, performed abroad, and lived well, and so did I. Through this kind of play, I maximized my external resources and learned to cultivate my internal ones. Oh yeah, let’s not forget how the act of turning your bike upside down instantly made you the “Ice cream man”!

Resourcefulness is a key resiliency in life. It is the birthplace of ingenuity, creativity, imagination, confidence, and perseverance. My mom had no car to drive me to my first job at the local Italian bakery, but my bike got me there in less than five minutes. I even rode that bike to school as a fourth and fifth grader!

When that bike “broke down,” I learned how to fix it. With YouTube videos? Nope, we didn’t have YouTube “back in my day.” We had the library. I also had a handy grandpa and uncle to ask questions or get advice from. It took creative imagination and confidence to fix that bike all by myself, which I would not have had had my mom not encouraged play through art early on.

That bike gave me priceless freedom, imagination, ingenuity, inspiration, self-sufficiency, resourcefulness, tolerance, perseverance, acceptance, responsibility, and confidence.

What are 3 benefits of art therapy?

Here are three top benefits of art therapy:

  • Self-expression: Art allows individuals to express their thoughts, emotions, and experiences nonverbally. By engaging in art activities such as drawing, painting, or writing, individuals can tap into their internal resources, process their feelings, and better understand themselves.
  • Mindfulness and relaxation: Engaging in artistic activities can promote mindfulness and relaxation, allowing individuals to be fully present in the moment. Whether through coloring, sculpting, or playing a musical instrument, the focus and concentration required during these activities can help reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and cultivate internal resources such as calmness and inner peace.
  • Confidence and self-esteem: Artistic endeavors allow individuals to develop and showcase their skills and abilities. By creating art, individuals can witness their own progress and achievements, which boosts their self-confidence and self-esteem. And in turn, it builds internal resources such as resilience, perseverance, and a positive self-image, which are alsdo vital in maintaining healthy relationships.

Art therapy helps people express themselves more freely, improve their mental health, and improve interpersonal relationships.

Social benefits of art therapy

It has been demonstrated that art therapy helps people with their emotions and mental health and potentially makes things easier for those with ADHD/ADD. When people have poor mental health or don’t manage their emotions well, they tend to get into trouble with drugs and alcohol or other self-destructive behaviors. By using art therapy, some folks are better equipped to understand their emotions and be less likely to do harmful things.

Art will continue to provide numerous social benefits for individuals of all ages, as engaging in art activities in a therapeutic or community setting promotes social interaction and connection with others. It creates a safe and inclusive space where individuals can express themselves, share their artwork, and engage in group discussions, facilitating communication and the development of social skills such as active listening, empathy, and perspective-taking.

Through collaborative art projects (music, painting, etc.), individuals learn to work together, problem-solve, and negotiate with others, fostering teamwork and cooperation. Additionally, it allows individuals to form supportive relationships and build a sense of community. The group setting provides a platform for individuals to share their experiences, validate each other’s feelings, and offer encouragement and support. Ultimately, art therapy promotes social well-being, enhances interpersonal relationships, and provides opportunities for individuals to feel a sense of belonging and connection.

ADHD art therapy activities

When my youngest child was about a year and a half old, my mother passed away, which not only left me without a grandmother for my children but also their daycare provider. My oldest was in kindergarten then, so at least he was kept busy. However, my youngest, who also has ADHD, was now solely in my care while I worked from home. This presented quite the challenge of staying focused on my work and keeping my little guy busy and occupied simultaneously.

One of the first activities I gave him was a pad of paper, crayons, and some dull coloring pencils. As a result, he became quite an artist! In fact, by the time he was around seven years old, he was drawing caricatures without even knowing how to or the meaning behind that type of art. I was writing for a small-town newspaper then, and the United States political climate was a dramatic series of circus events. Hence, his caricatures were very much apropos for that era.  

Art therapy is a powerful tool for building problem-solving and communication skills. It is a form of alternative treatment based on the premise that art helps express emotions such as anxiety, sadness, or anger that are sometimes difficult to put into words, whether you are a small child or an aging citizen.

It is truly remarkable how we can use art to build internal resources like coping skills, resilience, positive self-esteem, and problem-solving skills.

Some other types of art therapy activities to help those with ADHD could include:

  • Playing with Playdoh
  • Silly puddy or any type of puddy really
  • Paint by numbers (builds math skills too)
  • Playing instruments (also builds math and self esteem skills)
  • Listening to therapeutic music such as: The Beatles, Jazz, Classical, Prince (of course the lyrically clean songs!)
  • Making mud pies
  • Working in a vegetable garden (my son especially loved the eating what we harvested part!)
  • Building with Legos or building blocks
  • Making jewelry
  • Painting rocks (we did this every year when we camped on the shores of the Great Lake Huron in Lakeport, Michigan)
How we can use art to build internal resources?

In conclusion, art therapy offers numerous benefits, and it fosters social interaction, improves communication skills, and creates a sense of community. Whether it be through individual or collaborative activities, art therapy has the power to build internal resources and enhance overall well-being.

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