Well-being: Just Breathe

In light of Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24th May 2020) and because this is the first article in Burnt Orange City’s new section ‘Well-being’ I wanted to talk about the simple yet effective act of breathing.

From the many insightful creative chats I have had with artists so far I have started to notice a recurring theme which I wanted to share with you. I often feel drawn to asking artists about how they feel when they create and whether they have any art rituals. I have come to realise how unique and powerful the creative process is with regards to releasing emotion, reconnecting with self and finding calm.

Coming back to your breathing can help you to feel grounded and to remain in your body rather than in your mind

For many of us, lockdown has forced us to adapt and revise how we usually do things; it’s led us to change our habits, routines and has unearthed some anxieties. I’ve definitely learnt to embrace the freedom of this time – but that’s not to say that I haven’t had anxious moments wondering what will life look like after this?. What I have been finding helpful during this time is finding things to centre myself; things that allow me to feel the feelings that come up and not suppress them, whilst maintaining a sense of security and clarity. I have always felt more present and grounded when I do art or write. Overthinking takes a back seat and I can just be there in the moment. It is like a form of meditation. 

Anna F Macdonald : Speaking II

Anna F Macdonald // Speaking II

In my creative chat with Anna F MacDonald Anna describes her creative process as a visual form of breathing; wanting pieces from her body of work ‘Breath’ to feel like breathing when you look at them. How she draws lines becomes a ritualistic and spiritual experience for her. We spoke about her art ritual of cleaning and decluttering her work space before she creates; which in turn welcomes a clear mind, and a freshness, providing a space to reflect and let things settle. 

Similarly, Nadia Attura shared how she feels when she creates art in our recent chat; feeling a sense of relief, of freedom, tranquillity, of joy. Art offers her a space to breathe and reconnect with herself. 

Looking beyond our natural respiratory rhythm, deep breathing can help us come back to ourselves. As they say in meditation, coming back to your breathing can help you to feel grounded and to remain in your body rather than in your mind. 

Next time you create, notice how you breathe ….. 

How do you feel when you create? 
Join me on Friday 22nd May at 4pm (BST) on Instagram Live (via @burnt_orange_city) talking to Francesca Raffa, Founder of Spiral Tea. We’ll be talking about how we look after our mental health and how we find stillness in daily life. See you there!

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