NEW: Go check out Calligraphy for Mental Health freebies!
It’s no secret that I have anxiety, I’ve never been super closed off about that. It’s something I manage and cope with music and art. I didn’t consistently start using calligraphy and lettering until 2016, but did notice I began using it in times of high stress and feelings of anxiety to calm myself, including using it while at the hospital while my dad was in-patient. When I didn’t have a plan or prompt that would shape what I was creating, I noticed I started unconsciously lettering words and phrases like “just breathe”, “you can do it”, “stay strong”, etc. I started tagging my posts on Instagram with #calligraphyformentalhealth to show the utilization of this art form in a therapeutic manner for mental health issues.
In December 2018 I created the Instagram account @CalligraphyforMentalHealth when I noticed I wasn’t the only one using lettering and calligraphy in this manner. The lettering community is vast and supportive of one another, so it was important to me to highlight and share these stories with the rest of the world. My goal is to show how calligraphy and lettering can be used in this fashion to help people cope with anxiety, depression, stress, etc. and share stories of other calligrapher and lettering artists who cope through their art. In addition to stories, the Instagram page will provide some information on mental health, resources and other campaigns that strive to eliminate the stigma of mental health and empower those living with these issues.
Are you someone who uses calligraphy and lettering to help cope with the symptoms that occur from mental health issues and want to share your experience? Tag @calligraphyformentalhealth and use the #calligraphyformentalhealth hashtag!
There’s some research on how and why calligraphy is a good form of stress reduction and mediation. The majority of what has been found has been from utilizing Chinese Calligraphy, but the ideas behind this research can be translated to English Calligraphy as well. Below you can find some more information and research literature:
- Calligraphy Therapy: A Complementary Approach to Psychotherapy by Henry Kao at the University of Hong Kong (March 2010): Link
- Calligraphy and Health by Yuan Pu: Link
- Does Chinese calligraphy therapy reduce neuropsychiatric symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis by Kuan-Yu Chu, Chih-Yang Huang and Wen-Chen Ouyang (March 2018): Link