What is depression?
It's nothing unusual to feel sad and somber now and then, due various stages life puts us through. But, when these emotions are stronger and persistent, to the point it disrupts a person's day-to-day life, affects a person's medical and physical health, to the point where they might even have suicidal thoughts, we call it depression.
According to 'The Daily Mail', a research conducted by University College London, on almost 50,000 people, to see positive effects of calligraphy and other creative stuffs, shows that 76% of them enjoy such activities and find them to be a ‘distraction tool’ to block out anxiety, 69% took up a creative hobby as a way to make themselves more confident, and 50% of them see it as a ‘contemplation tool’.
Senior research fellow Dr Daisy Fancourt, who led the UCL research, said: ‘This study is the first to show the cognitive strategies the brain uses to regulate our emotions when we’re taking part in creative activities.’
How does it actually help?
One way to combat depression is to keep our mind busy. Well, it might not be as easy as said. Calligraphy gives our brain some much-needed workout that too in a fun and enjoyable manner. Keeping our mind away from anything that makes us upset. No we don't have to be an artist or have the most creative of minds. No rules. No boundaries. Just flow with the pen.
MEDITATIVE AND SOOTHING
Calligraphers and researchers alike have found calligraphy to be therapeutic. When we sit with our pen upon the paper we'll notice the stillness of our breath, the exhale and inhale, something from deep inside us rush through our veins to our fingers to our pen and finally on the paper, soothing us inside out and give us tranquility of mind. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh who practices calligraphy for mindfulness says, “Writing calligraphy is a practice of meditation. In my calligraphy, there is ink, tea, breathing, mindfulness, and concentration.”
It's art of precision and perfection, which demands an individual's utmost concentration. This gives us a chance to get out of our minds. Providing an escape. A distraction. Distraction from all the loud thoughts that might be screaming on our head. All the unwanted lingering things that constantly keeps bugging us day and night. Taking us away from all the physiological disturbance, to a place of calm and peace.
TIME TO CONTEMPLATE
Depression drains us inside out, leaving us tired and empty inside. One step towards overcoming depression is, accepting our mental health and be loving towards our self. That happens when we give time to our self and our thoughts. Calligraphy makes us 'think'. A moment to simply sit and contemplate on our thoughts and emotions. For some that’s one way to vent, they might write out their thoughts on the paper or may practice writing down some positive quotes or motivational words. Which motivates them and creates positivity. Also, just like quotes, poetry or maybe even greeting cards, calligraphy too has a rhythm. A balance of light upper strokes, heavy down strokes, a dance of thick and thin; making us wholeheartedly feel the words as they embrace the paper.
People with depression constantly find themselves hopeless. They find life to be meaningless. In worse cases even suicidal. Doing something everyday, makes our day more meaningful. Calligraphy is something that pushes a person to improve and do better by every passing day. Making a person work towards earning perfection with time. And when they do improve day by day, it gives the person a sense of success. A purpose in life. An achievement to cherish. They may not feel like celebrating but if recognised, it can act like a sword against all the negativity.
Has calligraphy helped people in real?
Yes, it has. People who have gone through trauma or through some down time in their life, have reportedly found solace in calligraphy. Some of those who have overcome depression, have even started their own business of making greeting cards, embellished with beautiful calligraphy. Furthermore, doctors ever suggest cancer patients who are likely to go through extreme psychological turmoil, to practice journaling and calligraphy. Patients too have benefited, so much so that they have even took it as their favorite pass time.
Undoubtedly, calligraphy is one of the most amazing and beautiful hobby out their, but it can also serve as a great weapon against the negativity of life.
Author: Mahiya Mannan