May 8, 2024

Crafting Calm: Navigating mental health through calligraphy

In today’s fast-paced world, finding moments of calm can be a challenge. But there’s an ancient practice that can help, you’ve guessed it – calligraphy. With its slow rhythmic, strokes, calligraphy offers a therapeutic escape from everyday life. In this blog, Jenni writes about how calligraphy has helped her navigate her own journey with mental health.

It’s more than just writing.

Calligraphy is self-expression, creativity, and meditation. The rhythmic movements of the pen and the attention to detail have always created a sense of mental calm for me and has encouraged me to return to practicing as much as I can. I find that when I pick up my pen to write, I can be fully present in the moment, captivated by the ink swells and strokes. It often doesn’t even matter what you are writing, the act itself can help to quiet your mind, reduces stress, and bring a sense of tranquillity. It’s the kind of habit that can encourage a slower pace of life. It’s helped me disconnect from the digital world and its many distractions and enjoy some me-time. More recently, calligraphy has been essential in helping me navigate anxiety and times of depression. 

Jenni’s calming calligraphy top tips:

1. Embrace your imperfections: It’s only by choosing to let go of your perfectionism that you will be able to escape from that source of stress.

2. Easy set up: Choose a place to practice with a comfortable chair. Make sure all your tools, paper and nib cloth or paper towel is easily accessible so that you don’t need to think about what you need to get before you begin. It’s all there ready for you.

3. Environment: Put on some relaxing music (non-lyrical is best), grab a cosy drink and pop a candle on.

4. Switch off distractions: Put your phone on silent and if you have family members in the house, let them know you are not to be disturbed for half an hour.

5. Start with mindfulness: Before you even lift your pen, close your eyes and take three deep, slow breaths. As you do this focus on releasing any tension in your shoulders, jaw, wrists and hands.

6. No goals: simply lean in to what you love and enjoy your practice. If it makes you relaxed, is creative or simply puts a smile on your face then you are winning.

You don’t have to look far to find numerous research papers explaining the benefits of writing. These papers explain the impact it can have on trauma recovery, sleep improvement, emotional processing, self-reflection and physical health benefits such as boosting your immune system and reducing blood pressure to name a few. Calligraphy won’t solve all your problems but it’s a very good place to start.

Join us this week for Mental Health Awareness Week (13th – 19th May, 2024) as we have a series of events aimed at promoting self-care, community support and destigmatising conversations around mental health.

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