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The Healing Power of Art Journaling

The Healing Power of Art Journaling

Jan 10th 2024

As kids, we naturally dive into creativity with a carefree spirit, expressing ourselves through singing, dancing, and drawing without fear of judgment. Such freedom and joy, sadly, are often lost as we grow and become increasingly self-conscious.

The good news is that art journaling offers an avenue to rediscover that liberating feeling of uninhibited self-expression. Better yet, it allows us to process our emotions and cultivate well-being. Read on to learn more about this therapeutic practice and delve into stories of artists healing through art from  Art Journaling magazine.

The Essence of Art Journaling

Through the fusion of art,  writing, and self-expression, art journaling provides a sanctuary to explore experiences, thoughts, and emotions. The creative outlet uses a journal, sketchbook, or other creative alternatives as a canvas for self-exploration. It integrates various art forms, including painting, drawing, collage, and mixed-media.

At its core,  art journaling is about the process, not the final result. There are no expectations or rules to follow, and everyone's art journal is as distinctive as their journey. Artist or not, art journaling is accessible to all, regardless of background. It's a safe space to freely explore, experiment, and express without worry about comparison or criticism.

Therapeutic Benefits

The tactile experience of handling art supplies and creating and arranging  visual elements adds a layer of sensory engagement, which can be deeply restorative. Art journaling's calming and meditative nature lets us enter a state of flow in which we are fully absorbed in the now. This state of mindfulness can induce relaxation and relieve mental tension.


Not only is art journaling a  powerful tool for making sense of our feelings, but it also fosters self-acceptance and self-compassion. It invites us to celebrate authenticity and embrace imperfections. It likewise teaches us to appreciate our unique creations, irrespective of how they compare to those of others.

Art Therapy: How Art Can Heal

In the mid-20th century, psychiatrists began to recognize the therapeutic potential of art-making, and that's when  art therapy became a formal program for treating psychological disorders and supporting mental health. Art therapy is rooted in the idea that, as human beings, we find it comforting to process trauma and stress through nonverbal, artistic ways, making it possible for healing to occur.

The impact of art therapy extends to various facets of human functioning, from self-perception to interpersonal interactions. Just a brief 45-minute creative activity can, according to a study, alter a person's mental state. For healthy adults, engaging in solitary activities like coloring can alleviate negative emotions and stress. Such benefits are even more so when guided by a therapist, leading to positive mood and improved measures of well-being.

Healing Through Art Journaling


Creative Outlet for Healing

by Marie Aguiar Kosik from  Art Journaling Summer 2022

We lost our dog-child recently, and coping with that has been such an ordeal. I had no idea it was going to be so difficult. We knew it was going to happen someday because she was an old girl, but it still took us by surprise. I was sitting in the car choking back the tears and just feeling horrible about what was happening.

I wanted to go into the vet's office but just could not get myself to accompany my husband in — I knew I would have nightmares of that scene forever if I did. I struggled with the idea of charging in there and calling the whole thing off, but she was in a lot of pain, even with all the medication we had her on. I wanted to make the right choice even though it was an anguishing one.

Writing and art have always been my savior and have been especially therapeutic during this challenging time. It has always been an outlet for those thoughts and emotions that I find so hard to talk about.

The process of art journaling has helped me heal a little easier during more times than I can count. It lets me express my emotions in a healthier way and keeps my mind from dwelling on the sadder aspects of life. Immersing myself in journaling is such a joy in good times or bad.

Read the full article in Art Journaling Summer 2022.


Collage Dolls as Therapy

by Leaca Young from  Art Journaling Winter 2024

In 2022, I faced personal challenges, including my father's battle with cancer. It was a time of emotional turmoil, and I sought comfort in the familiarity of vintage paper and paper dolls. Returning to this cherished art form was like revisiting an old friend during a challenging period in my life.

These small, intimate artworks became a means for me to process complex emotions and find moments of solace amidst the chaos. These simple yet profoundly meaningful "Collage Dolls" served as a form of self-care and creative therapy during this trying time.

Explore her story and artwork in Art Journaling Winter 2024.


Healing Journey

by Nancy Bales from  Art Journaling Spring 2022

We saw 2020 as being so bad between the pandemic and nasty politics that 2021 had to be better — but, in my world, everything quickly went south. My mother had become increasingly more tired after Christmas Eve. She started to change, wanting to sleep all of the time, so on December 28th, we called hospice.

Mom got into the hospital bed and slowly declined, eating very little and not responding to much around her. When the event at the capitol occurred on January 6th, we heard her strong voice yelling, "Turn on the news, turn on the news!" Mom never wanted to miss anything. But, she passed four days later, very quietly and lovingly, eight days short of turning 92.

I was pretty much a mess after that, grieving my loss and having to deal with all of the stuff that happens when someone dies. I had read about folks using art journaling as a way to deal with their feelings. I would go into the studio to let it out, to play, to do whatever. I would sit at my table surrounded by all of my supplies, and nothing happened — I guess this was too big. No matter what I did, nothing happened, nothing came out. I would just sit there crying.

I went from being someone who was journaling at least twice a week to someone who didn't create any art at all. Nothing changed until this past Thanksgiving when I wanted to send out Thanksgiving cards. It was making cards about being grateful that pulled me out of a deep hole.

Being busy has helped me deal with my mom's passing. First, I was occupied with getting financial stuff in order and cleaning out her house. Some days, I would go over to her house and sit and cry, but it has grown easier with time. I miss her every day, and it was all a blessing — as was my art journaling.

For more stories, artworks, and techniques, check out Art Journaling magazine, wherein artists open their journals and share creative ways to capture life through art.

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