I came across a documentary called Crayons and Paper about children who reveal their experiences of the devastation of war through their crayon drawings. Pediatrician Dr. Jerry Ehrlich began making trips to war-torn nations in 1991. He took his medical expertise and a pocket full of crayons. As he treated children and experienced the depredation of their world, he reached across any language or cultural barrier by offering a crayon and paper. The children used the tools to create their vision of their world. Not only were the drawings profoundly impactful because they were drawn by children living in the epicenter of a war, it was like a jolt remembering something very basic and important that I had long since forgotten.
Drawing is a therapeutic way to express our feelings.
When was the last time you drew something? I honestly can’t recall. I color pictures with my children, but those are usually part of a color book or something that comes pre-printed in an art kit. Drawing can be a an effective way to relieve stress according to the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association and I see the effects on my own children’s behavior and stress level when they take time to sit quietly and draw or color. Why aren’t more adults using this technique to express our feelings or reduce our stress?
As we look at the various stressors in our work day, my challenge to us is to take time today to shut the office door or sneak off to a quiet place at work and draw. Even if it’s a pen and the back of a printed copy of the latest report from finance, just draw. Let your mind wander and see what you come up with. Feel free to share your experience in the comments or tell me why this isn’t helpful for adults.