Art as Expression

May 6, 2014 Leave a comment

A Nationally Recognized Organization …Right Here In Pittsburgh

 

I am so proud to serve as a board member for Art Expression, Inc. The work they do for students in our schools, children of military families, and homeless children is commendable.  Art Expression has provided programs in school districts and community organizations to over 5,000 children in 5 counties. The programs are taught by Master Degree Art Therapists, designated as Art Facilitators, who work together with school district or community program staff. The programs are held in an inclusive environment, with children of all backgrounds, abilities, and needs. Stick with me, because I’m going to let the children’s words speak for themselves in a moment.

To keep these programs in place and to extend the reach of the Art Expression services, it is, of course, necessary to seek outside support and funding. Today, May 6, 2104 – #14DOG,  is a great day to give to an organization that is making an impact in our communities, and being recognized nationally for its programming. Art Expression, Inc is a 2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit with GreatNonprofits, has received a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award – Certificate of Excellence, and was named a Model Art Therapy Program in K-12 Schools by the American Art Therapy Association, among other awards. But, on to the most important rewards of the Art Expression, Inc (AE) work – the children who participate:

 

Support the AE mission “To facilitate positive socialization with children and adolescents through expressive art activities in an inclusive educational environment” and go to http://pittsburghgives.org/. Choose Art Expression, Inc.

To see the variety of innovative programs AE provides and what makes Art Expression so  special, visit http://www.artexpressioninc.org. Or, visit the beautifully expressive children’s art gallery.

If you are an Art Therapist with your Master’s, are an interested school district staff, or wish to serve as a member of the Art Expression Board of Directors, please email: info@artexpressioninc.org.

 

Have a great Day of Giving, everyone! And, express yourself in some artistic way today!

Take a Breath

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Take a Breath…

That’s it. Nice and slow. Long and deep.

Is that breath different from the ones you took before clicking into this post? I’ll bet it is.  Most of us don’t realize how shallow our breaths actually are, until we focus on taking a deep breath. You’d think we all would automatically breathe the way we need, but over time, for a variety of physiological reasons and learned behaviors, we just develop a shallow breathing pattern.

Nice deep breath again, please. In through your nostrils. Can you feel your lungs now? Do you sense your diaphragm’s movement? What does the air feel like passing through your nose? I’ll bet it feels good.

There are many benefits to proper breathing. And reasons to let go of improper breathing.

“Breathing incorrectly can produce tension, exhaustion and vocal strain, interfere with athletic activity and encourage aches and illnesses,” says Nancy Zi, a Glendale, Calif.-based breathing expert and author of the book and video set, “The Art of Breathing.” Breathe correctly, however, and you can “melt away tension and stress, improve energy or simply relax and unwind.” — Via Discovery Health(DH)

The DH article also informs us that “breathing oxygenates every cell of your body, from your brain to your vital organs. Without sufficient oxygen, your body becomes more susceptible to health problems.”

Now, there are lots of tips, tricks, and how-to’s for developing proper breathing techniques that you can search from experts across the web. The biggest thing is to not make this too difficult. It should come as natural as, well, breathing.

My suggestion is to not worry about how long or how often you are going to focus on your breathing. Just do it. Right now your attunement to breathing has, most likely, already made it better. I think that is the trick. Pick something you do on a regular basis throughout the day and begin to associate it with deeper breathing. It could be as simple as choosing to focus your attention on breathing when you visit the restroom, log in to Facebook, send a text message, view a commercial, when you wake up, when you are irritated with your significant other, etc. Whatever you do several times a day, that’s the one for you. Feel free to leave your own suggestions or success tips.

What I’ve found is that as soon as you have the intention to breathe better and take that first deep breath, the body enjoys the feeling and rewards/benefits and therefore continues the pattern until you become distracted, stressed, bored, sedentary, etc., again. For example, my breathing today was very shallow (and my mood was way funky and my motivation to do anything was…meh). However, since I began writing this post, my breathing has taken a nice, regular, deep rhythm. I can note the difference without being required to think about it or force or change anything about my air intake. What about you? Is your breathing different while you read this?

I checked out some blogs that had detailed info on breathing and I think the post “18 Benefits of Deep Breathing” at One Powerful Word is extremely useful for you. Just a few of the benefits listed there are -

  • Relieving emotional problems
  • Relief of pain
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Assisting in weight control

I would also add that deep breathing can:

  • Diffuse anger in the moment (great tip for children, too)
  • Provide focus for your thoughts, which can benefit creativity and career tasks
  • Assist you in better parenting or relationship techniques! (deep breaths reduce tension and frustration, leading to happier and better ways to handle the things that bother us.)

You don’t have to be a yoga addict, zen seeker, or meditation master to want or achieve good breathing. You just have to believe in the benefits and give it a little jump-start until it becomes natural.

Simply Put – Breathing is essential for life; Deep breathing is essential for a longer, healthier life.

Breathing Relieves Emotional Problems
Breathing will help clear uneasy feelings out of your body.5. Breathing Relieves Pain. – See more at: http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html#sthash.wp7MOXlJ.dpuf
Breathing Relieves Emotional Problems
Breathing will help clear uneasy feelings out of your body.5. Breathing Relieves Pain. – See more at: http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html#sthash.wp7MOXlJ.dpuf