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Focusing the Mind: Using Creative Art as a Way to Improve and Cultivate Your Growth Mindset

by Lauren Fallat, LPC LPAT ATR-BC

Do you ever feel stuck or overwhelmed by negative thoughts and emotions? Our minds can be like a confused maze at times. With too many ideas and thoughts going on at once, it can be difficult to stay focused and motivated. What you may not know is that art is one of the best ways to reset your mindset so you can create positive energy and vibes that will help keep you on track.

Art has immense power to reshape the way we see, express and understand our inner world. Art is a universal language that speaks to us all. It can help us to learn about ourselves, express our feelings, and develop clear goals for our lives. Art and its various mediums and modalities can be an effective tool to transition into a healthier mindset.

From the intricate beauty of mandalas to the soothing lines of calligraphy, art offers an array of creative tools to help us achieve mental clarity, foster mindfulness and even tackle specific problems or solutions. Let’s explore further why a growth mindset is important to cultivate and how art can support and promote a healthier mindset.

A growth mindset is based on the idea that intelligence and ability are not fixed traits, but rather can be developed and changed through effort, dedication and resilience. It is often regarded as a counter-argument to traditional, fixed mindsets which believe that intelligence and talents are something you are born with and cannot change or be improved on. By understanding how to develop a growth mindset we can learn to foster positive mental health habits and behaviors, helping us to face difficult challenges with optimism and determination.

Within a growth mindset, we learn that it is important to embrace ‘failure’ or mistakes, open-mindedness and development of ability over time. For instance, making mistakes is a part of learning. If you want to improve your skills, you need to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. Every time you make a mistake, you learn something new. So don't be afraid to make mistakes – they are a part of the learning process. It is also important to be open to new ideas. You need to be willing to try new things and learn new techniques. If you are open to new ideas, you may find that there are strategies that are more effective in helping you to achieve your goals beyond those you have already practiced or tried.

Whether you are looking to reduce stress and anxiety, cope with life’s challenges, shift your thinking or just get inspired to reach your goals, there are several ways to use art to change your mindset.

1. Draw or paint your feelings.

It can be helpful to express your feelings through art, especially when we struggle to identify how we are feeling or find the intensity of our emotions (either too high or too low) as interfering with our ability to fully understand what we are needing. Draw or paint what you’re feeling internally using lines, shapes and colors, and you may find that it helps you to process those emotions.

2. Create a mood board.

A mood board is a great way to express your current mood or mindset. Collect images, quotes, and other pieces that resonate with how you’re feeling, and create a board that represents your current state of mind.

3. Make a list of things you’re grateful for.

When you’re feeling down, it can be helpful to focus on the positive or more hopeful things in your life. Make a list of things you’re grateful for, and take the time to appreciate them. Allow yourself to focus on these important details in your life and find inspiration from this list to create art around this theme.

4. Use art to tell your story.

Draw or paint a picture that tells your story. This can be a great way to express your feelings and connect with others who may be going through something similar. It also is a way to take a look at your own narrative and find ways to accept or change the direction of your story.

5. Use art to manifest your goals.

If you’re feeling down because you’re not sure what you want to do or how you want to proceed with a significant decision or life transition, you can use art to help you manifest your goals. Draw or paint a picture of what you want your life to look like, and let the art act as a guide to help you achieve your dreams.

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