When Life Hands You Lemons and You Feel as Sour as One

Inward Outside - with Heather Caruso at Art Therapy Guelph in Ontario.

When times get tough, folks can feel anxious, depressed, irritable, and stressed. It can seem like one thing after the other and we are met with constant roadblocks. Our minds may naturally start to shift towards negative thinking, which leaves us feeling irritable and expecting the worst. These harsh internal thoughts may make us feel gloomy and beat ourselves up. When life throws us too many curveballs, we naturally have a hard time focusing on good things. We want to be that person who makes lemonade from lemons but once in a while it is normal to feel just plain old sour. Some people cope better with bad news than others. We can learn how to stop negative thoughts.

Try this simple art therapy exercise. It is a positive affirmation art therapy exercise specific to you. Write a note to yourself from your future self. Use positive and uplifting language. Take half an hour and write yourself a letter of encouragement. If you do not feel that your future self would write that letter, write it from someone who always said the right things or make up a fictional person to write it. Praise yourself for what you are doing right and offer encouraging and uplifting words for the future. If you do not know what to say, take one of your negative thoughts and write the opposite. For example, you say “I cannot cope without seeing my friends and family in person”, reverse that statement by saying, “I know this pandemic won’t last forever. I recognize it's tough for everyone. I know I have people who care about me, even though I cannot see them in person. I know this situation is not perfect so I will make plans for more phone and computer chats with friends.” In doing so you acknowledge your feeling is real, turn it around and make positive changes. Another idea is to simply and freely write anything that comes to your mind that you would like to hear that is positive. Once you have written your letter, take a pen and circle all the words or phrases that inspire you. Words or phrases like have faith, you are doing your best, focus, belief and trust are positive and inspiring. Sometimes we need to lean on someone else when we are down. Sometimes we can dig around and find them within ourselves.

Using those circled words, create art surrounding those encouraging phrases. Use any materials you wish to make art using these inspirational words. If you are not sure what to do here are a few ideas. Make a mobile collage, a positivity mandala or a painting. The picture in this article is a painted rock. The sunshine has a happy face, radiating positive words from its center. When placed in the right location, in plain view, this artwork can show us our own uplifting messages. This art therapy exercise offers a new way to reframe thoughts and feel more positive.

If you would like more information on becoming an art therapy client, book a get-acquainted chat today at https//:arttherapyguelph.com or call 519 827 9237