Art Therapy Activities To Develop Self-Awareness

art therapy activities for self awareness

Art therapy activities for self-awareness are the perfect choice for an at-home, self-directed therapy. You can make them a part of your self-care practice. These activities will raise your self-awareness and increase your mindfulness and well-being. 

Having self-awareness means you know who you are and you can see yourself objectively without biases and faulty assumptions. That helps you be more confident, have stronger self-control, make better decisions, and develop better relationships.

Benefits of art therapy activities for self-awareness

Art therapy activities for self-awareness will inspire you to express your feelings, ideas, thoughts, and concerns in a creative way. They will challenge you to change your thinking patterns, observe life from another angle and think visually. You will experience a decrease in stress and an increase in self-awareness and self-esteem.

 

I suggest you write down your thoughts and answers to prompts. That way you will fully articulate your thoughts and not leave them unfinished, hanging in the air. Have a notebook or piece of paper. If it’s an activity that uses up only one side of the paper then use the other side to write so that you have it all in one place in case you’ll want to refer to it later on. If you are using a notebook for your art therapy activities then take one whole spread, one page for the creation and the other one for writing. 

You can create something like an art journal. It’s a beautiful way of keeping a record of your life, thoughts, and feelings. I wrote an article about starting an art journal with lots of ideas and prompts that are suitable even for those who think they can’t make art. 

Before you start!

Before you start with your chosen art therapy activity, do this little relaxation routine to get your creative juices flowing. Find some green plant, it can be your house plant, a tree outside of your window, or in case none of it is available find a picture, or better yet a video, of some green nature on the internet. Then look at the plant, breathe deeply and just observe the colors and shapes. Looking at elements from nature instantly relaxes the brain. A relaxed brain is more receptive and open to creativity. After a couple of deep breaths, you’re ready to start.

Art therapy activities for self-awareness

What Feelings Look Like

You’ll need: 

  • Sheet of paper or a notebook
  • Colored pencils

Creative process:

On a paper write 10 to 30 different feelings (focus on the ones you feel most often). Space them out evenly so that you have enough space to draw a small picture above or under each feeling word. Using colored pencils draw how each feeling looks to you, it can be both abstract or realistic. You can use one or few colors for each feeling. 

Prompts:

  • How did you feel during the process of creating drawings of feeling?
  • Which feelings do you feel most often? 
  • Did you draw more pleasant or unpleasant feelings?
  • Which colors did you use for pleasant feelings?
  • Which colors did you use for unpleasant feelings?
  • Did you discover something new about yourself during this activity?

Benefits/Goals:

Look at the feelings from a different perspective. While trying to imagine your feelings having a shape and a color you’ll push yourself to look at them from different angles. We tend to avoid thinking about unpleasant feelings, but they are an essential part of our lives, just like the pleasant ones. Their purpose is to warn us, teach us, or direct our attention somewhere. Ignoring them will block the important message we need to receive. Use this activity to allow yourself to explore all your feelings.

 

Remote Island

You’ll need: 

  • Sheet of paper or a notebook
  • Colored pencils

Creative process:

Draw a small island surrounded by the sea and yourself on it. On the island draw plants, one animal, 3 things you have with yourself, and you can choose to draw one person (whomever you want, real or imaginary) to be with you or not.

Prompts:

  • How did you feel during the process of creating a remote island? 
  • What kind of plants did you draw? Why those plants? 
  • Which animal did you draw? Why that animal? 
  • Which three things did you draw? What would you do with those things? 
  • Did you draw a person? Who is it? Why that person? 
  • Did you discover something new about yourself during this activity? 

Benefits/Goals:

There are two paths most commonly chosen to create a remote island. One is realistic with survival in mind, and the other is comical with entertainment in mind. These types of tasks are designed to make you think simplistically. Life is complex and sometimes stripping it to bare essentials helps you see what is of great importance in your life. 

 

Perceptions Of Personality 

You’ll need: 

  • Sheet of paper (A4 or lager)
  • Marker, colored pencils, pastels

Creative process:

On a piece of paper, with a marker draw 2 perpendicular lines to divide the paper into 4 rectangles. Inside the first rectangle draw yourself as you see yourself. Inside the second one draw yourself as you believe others see you. Then inside the third one draw yourself as you wished others would see you. Lastly, inside the fourth one draw your ideal self. The person you would be if you wouldn’t care what anyone thinks of you. Focus on the personality but also on the physical appearance. 

Prompts:

  • How did you feel during the process of creating perceptions of personality? 
  • Which two personalities are the most alike?
  • Which two personalities are the least alike?
  • How are the second and third personalities different?
  • How are the first and fourth personalities different?
  • Did you discover something new about yourself during this activity?

Benefits/Goals:

How we see ourselves, how we believe others see us, how we wish others would see us, and how others actually see us are four different persons. Explore your perceptions of yourself to expand your awareness of yourself. Understanding that perception of a person is relative and ever-changing will help you not get pinned down by labels. You can always work on being more like the person you wish to be. Raising your awareness of how you are and who you wish you were will help you determine what changes you want to make.

 

Comfort Zone

You’ll need: 

  • Sheet of paper or a notebook
  • Marker, colored pencils

Creative process:

On a piece of paper draw a circle with a marker. Inside the circle draw your comfort zone. Outside of the circle draw everything that is outside of your comfort zone that you want to do but don’t because of fear or discomfort.

Prompts:

  • How did you feel during the process of creating your comfort zone?
  • How do you feel when you’re thinking about doing an activity outside your comfort zone? 
  • Is it predominantly fear or discomfort that you feel when you have to step out of your comfort zone?
  • Can you come up with at least one coping strategy that will help you to stretch your comfort zone?
  • Do you step out of your comfort zone at least once a day?
  • Did you discover something new about yourself during this activity?

Benefits/Goals:

Explore your comfort zone to better understand your motivations and mental obstacles. Question your limits and ability to stretch yourself a little bit further. 

 

Brochure

You’ll need: 

  • Sheet of paper (A4 or larger)
  • Pastels or crayons

Creative process:

Fold the paper in thirds like a brochure. Create the brochure using words, abstract or realistic imagery. On the front cover of your brochure draw the representation of yourself. Inside of the brochure, on the first third draw your strengths, on the second third draw your shortcomings and weaknesses, and on the third third draw what makes you happy. You are left with 2 pages on the cover, fill one of those pages with your values, and the other one with your dreams, goals, and wishes. 

Prompts:

  • How did you feel during the process of creating your brochure? 
  • What is the general mood of your front cover drawing? Which colors dominate? How do you feel when looking at the front cover drawing? 
  • How do your strengths make your life easier? 
  • What do you think about your shortcomings? Do you accept them or do you wish to correct them? If you wish to correct them, can you think of one way you could do that? 
  • Are your days filled with that what makes you happy? If not, can you think of one way you could bring into your life more of what makes you happy?
  • Was it difficult for you to draw your values? How did you feel during that process?
  • How do you feel about your future? Are you currently working on your goals?
  • Did you discover something new about yourself during this activity? 

Benefits/Goals:

Focusing on your strengths and values, but keeping in mind your weaknesses increases your self-awareness and self-acceptance. Lastly knowing what makes you happy, and what you want from life helps you stay optimistic and motivated.

 

Chapters Of Your Life

You’ll need: 

  • Sheet of paper or a notebook
  • Colored pencils, markers, pastels

Creative process:

Look back on your life and divide it into separate chapters. Create a drawing for every chapter on one piece of paper (or page in a notebook). Think of your main focuses, goals, and worries at the time. Remember the people that were part of your life. 

Prompts:

  • How did you feel during the process of creating the chapters of your life? 
  • What changes did you use as your turning points for the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another?
  • Which life lessons did you learn in each chapter? 
  • Are the turning points from the same category or are they always different? (examples of categories: relationships, job, move, loss, achievements…)
  • Which chapters are your favorite?
  • Which chapters are your least favorite?
  • Did you discover something new about yourself during this activity?

Benefits/Goals:

Your past created the person you are today. Taking time to reflect on the past and remember all the achievements and successes you made, but also all the mistakes you made and lessons you learned is one way of practicing self-awareness. Knowing how you get to the place where you are today allows you to see the big picture of your life. 

 

Circle Of Control

You’ll need: 

  • Sheet of paper or a notebook
  • Marker, colored pencils

Creative process:

On a piece of paper draw a circle with a marker. Inside a circle draw everything that is in your control, that you can directly change or influence. On the outside of the circle draw everything that is out of your control but you keep stressing and worrying about. 

Prompts:

  • How did you feel during the process of creating the circle of control?
  • Can you easily let go of the need to control?
  • How do you feel when the outcome is out of your control?
  • Do you give your best in the areas that are in your control?
  • How do you accept that which you can’t change?
  • Did you discover something new about yourself during this activity?

Benefits/Goals:

Understanding and accepting what you can and can’t control will greatly reduce your stress. Most of the time we are trying to control too much and that leads to stress, burnout, and feelings of failure and incompetence. Learn to shift your focus from worrying about all the possible outcomes to finding ways you can do everything that is in your power and then relax and let go. 

 

Materials You’ll Need: 

You can use any kind of materials you have or like, but these are the ones I like and use: 

 

I really hope you’ll enjoy these art therapy activities for self-awareness if you decide to give them a try. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please leave a comment and I’ll give my best to respond as soon as possible. 

 

DISCOVER MORE ART THERAPY ACTIVITIES

Art Therapy Activities For Self-Discovery

Art Therapy Activities For Relaxation

 

DISCLAIMER: I am not a therapist. I am a person that is very interested in art, psychology, and working on myself, by myself. I read a lot, and explore and practice even more. All opinions shared here are formed through my exploration and personal experience and are for informational purposes only. Information shared here does not constitute professional advice. All actions you take on account of the information provided here are at your own responsibility. Every person should rely on their own good judgment, do their research, and make an informed decision.

 

MORE JOURNALING IDEAS

100 Art Journal Ideas to Inspire You on a Creative Self-Expression

110 Eye-Opening Journal Prompts to Encourage Self-Awareness

50 Insightful Journal Prompts To Get To Know Yourself Better

Intentional Living Journal Prompts That Will Transform Your Life

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