by Kat Davies
“…he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Many look forward with joy to a day when death is no more. But sadly, everyone will experience the pain and grief of bereavement at some point. Particularly in the last year, scientists have found that millions of people globally are struggling to process their grief following bereavement, the result of social distancing and the inability to hug and connect with loved ones.
Our usual methods for dealing with loss are temporarily unavailable. How, then, can we offer each other hope and healing during grief? You may be surprised to know that engaging with your creative side can bring you some of the comforts you crave.
Drawing as a release for grief
Scientists and art therapists have found that taking part in visual arts such as drawing or painting can help you process grief, enabling you to come to terms with your loss and coax out those emotions within you. One approach might be to try painting abstract colors or shapes that mirror how you’re feeling. You could even choose a subject to draw that represents your situation. How about a beautiful bird flying freely to symbolize a loved one escaping illness or your sadness lifting? Expressing yourself through art can help soothe the soul, especially when it’s difficult to find the right words.
Creating a brighter mindset
Scientists have found that activities that keep your hands busy, such as painting, drawing, knitting, or sewing can alter the brain’s chemistry, helping you to feel more positive and resilient. Using your hands to create can also help you escape day-to-day concerns because you are absorbed in making something meaningful. Psychologists call this entering a “state of flow.” You might compare it to meditating or entering a deeply prayerful state. However, you think of it, you should notice yourself feeling uplifted by the end of your creative session.
Bringing you closer to God
Our Creator God delights in people using their creativity, resourcefulness, and talents. Consider the capable wife in Proverbs 31: she harnesses her skills to plant vineyards and sew clothes for her household. She finds joy in the work of her hands. Engaging in a creative project may help you to make sense of your sorrow and draw closer to God.
While every person’s grief experience is unique, what unites us is a need to express our emotions. Using art as an outlet helps us pour out those feelings. It helps us shift our mindset. The act of creating is pleasing to God.
Pick up that paintbrush or sketching pencil and see how it can help your heart to heal.
Kat Davies is a freelance writer who enjoys contributing articles to various websites on the topics that matter to her. When she is not writing, she spends time exploring the great outdoors with her husband, their two daughters, and their two black Labradors. Kat is also a voracious reader and loves collecting first editions of early 20th-century literature.
Feature photo by Jim Veneman of girls coloring in the Girls’ Space at the Tenth Triennial Gathering in Minneapolis.