Last Saturday morning (Feb 26th) was held in ALMA (Asociación de Leucemia Mieloide Argentina) the first “art workshop with a twist”. This time, the three hours that the workshop took were divided into two separate parts: first, a relaxation exercise which was based on the theory of Neuro-Linguistic Programming; and second, the actual art workshop, consisting of mandala painting. What does all this mean? It can be explained as follows.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)? What would this be? It is an approach to psychotherapy that describes the ways in which the human brain works. As such, through it we can learn how to communicate more directly with others, as well as have a better grasp on our own neurology. A relaxation exercise can help patients take their minds off their daily lives, forget about troubles and focus on something different, such as the painting exercise that follows. When you combine this with NLP, you get a fun exercise where the person who leads the relaxation can, at the same time, teach patients useful tips about how to make the best of life – For instance, the act of smiling authentically incites others to smile as well, and this leads to the release of endorphins, a hormone that can make us feel happier, and that also helps strengthen the immune system.
Mandala? This is a Sanskrit word that means “magic circle”, “protector”, “sacred”. It is an antique symbol that consists of different figures included inside a circle along with other basic shapes, such as triangles, squares, etc. Mandalas are said to represent a person’s Self, their personality, their state of mind – and painting them, whether it be with pencils, crayons, oil paint or whatever is at hand, can be therapeutic in the sense that it can help patients, and non-patients too, get in full contact with their Self.
At ALMA, we are looking forward to the next art workshop and whatever surprises it will bring. Whether we repeat the same structure or some up with something new, it is sure to be an enjoyable time for all patients who decide to participate.