Another Great Film to Watch: Alive Inside

Alive Inside
A nursing home volunteer discovered that music has the power to “wake up” people with dementia, bringing back old memories for them and making them more responsive to their environments. This wonderful film documents this process, as well as his process of trying to get iPods with personal playlists on them into the hands of every dementia patient in the country. This is another great example of the healing power of the arts. It also has delightful footage of elders encountering music; footage that reminds me of my work with elders and art-making.

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Creating Art for Stress Relief: Make a Mandala

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I’m going to be posting some simple art projects you can do to help relieve stress and anxiety.

Mandalas are circular designs that are created for spiritual purposes in a number of eastern religions. In art therapy, a mandala is any circular design. Mandalas are used in art therapy as a centering and calming exercise.

The instructions are very simple. Find something round, such as a dinner plate, to use to trace a circle on a piece of paper. Now that you have your circle, fill it in however you like. You can use any kind of drawing media, such as markers, pastels, or colored pencils, or you can use paint, or you can combine any of the above. Many of my clients have found the process of filling in the circle to be quite calming and soothing.