Thank you for visiting. Here you will find posts based on my book The Power of Your Other Hand: Unlocking creativity and inner wisdom through the right side of your brain (new edition, 2019 Conari Press), featuring excerpts from the book, success stories from readers and students, my own experiences, and drawing and writing prompts using this technique. Enjoy!
~Lucia Capacchione, Phd, ATR

Sunday, November 1, 2020

The power of CJEA to help with stress and anxiety in teenagers

Many parents are looking for ways to guide teenagers through stress in times of COVID-19. Margaret Smith, our guest blogger has been doing just that with her kids. A candidate for certification in the Creative Journal Expressive Arts certification training, Margaret had no idea what was ahead when she entered the program in October 2019. She has risen to the occasion by applying the methods with her own family members. She is helping them adjust to the "new normal" at a stage in life - transitioning to adulthood - when everything is already changing rapidly. Throwing a pandemic into the mix has been a huge curve ball, but one that Margaret is coping with creatively.

The power of CJEA to help with stress and anxiety in teenagers
by Margaret Smith

I have 4 children in their older teenage years and 3 of them are away at college this fall. The pressures of college coursework, making new friends and adjusting to a new and different social scene during the time of Covid-19 has been especially hard. My twins are freshmen at the University of Notre Dame and adjusting to college life was exciting and scary at the same time, as it always is for new college students. However in 2020 new college students across the country are also dealing with strict rules, possible quarantine, masks – which make it hard when meeting and trying to remember new friends – and the worry of getting in trouble or getting sick with Covid-19. 

My 18-year-old daughter has called and texted me a few times with worries and the feeling of anxiety or feelings she describes as “feeling empty.” Talking through her worries has helped and so has encouraging her to scribble her stress away. One of the most popular Creative Journal Expressive Arts activities developed Dr. Lucia Capacchione is scribbling or drawing your stress away. This activity is like yoga for your brain and emotions. Using a colorful marker in each hand, you scribble lines with your dominant hand, then scribble with the other hand (your non-dominant hand). Then using both hands together at the same time, scribble lines and let your hands run free over your paper. In this simple easy-to-do practice, you will be engaging both sides of your brain. Drawing is a form of mindful meditation and this practice will calm you. It has been a wonderful way for my daughter to de-stress and relieve the anxiety she has been feeling. 

Another exercise that has been helpful for all my children is the practice of drawing a mandala – a circle with pie shaped sections. I asked my kids to fill in the pie shaped sections with all the things that support them – people, places, things. This practice is a wonderful reminder for them that in times of stress and anxiety they can look at their mandala and be reminded of the many areas of their life they can turn to for support. Whether it’s a sibling or friend, petting the dog, taking a walk to sit under their favorite tree, or doing the form of exercise that makes them feel better. We all have many support systems in our life and sometimes the act of reminding ourselves with a mandala picture can be incredibly helpful. 

Margaret Smith
CJEA Candidate for Certification

The scribbling exercises and many more prompts for de-stressing appear in this book.
The mandala activity appears in this book, along with many prompts for body awareness and emotional clearing.



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