Art Challenge #2: Gratitude Mandala In a time of uncertainty and crisis, we tend to forget about some of the things we have in our lives that bring us joy. That’s not to say that we are not experiencing crisis and feeling anxious, but an effective way to combat the anxiety is to practice gratitude. Gratitude is the ability to identify and give thanks for the things within your life that bring you happiness, even in a scary time. It promotes positive mindset, compassion, and even health within ones life. While it is more challenging to find things one is grateful for during a difficult time, it is still a good tool to help you reframe your focus and offer new perspective. One way to make it more effective is to make a visual! A gratitude mandala is a great way to focus on something you are grateful for while also practicing some grounding. Grounding can be helpful to calm your anxiety as it helps bring your awareness to the present moment. You think less of the things you cannot control and focus more so on the “now.” All you need for this mandala is a sheet of paper, a black pen, and some markers. Here’s how you can create your very own gratitude mandala: 1. In the center of your paper, trace a circle big enough for you to write a short statement in. 2. Think of something in your life currently that brings you joy! It can be ANYTHING. 3. Write out “I am grateful for....” in the center of your circle. Fill it in with that person, thing, experience, or place that makes you feel grateful. For example: “I am grateful for the time I spend with family.” 4. Around that circle, begin to formulate a pattern. Think of it as your first layer. Try not to judge yourself for any “mistakes” that may happen. This is not about the creation itself and more about the EXPERIENCE of creating it. Once you have finished that layer, create another new pattern around it. And so in and so forth. 5. Another way to do this is to simply write “I am grateful for,” in the middle circle and fill out the outside with ALL of things you are grateful for. You can still add patterns on top of your words. Remember, it’s about the process not the end result. You can take as much time as you need. Maybe you just want a quick distraction. Maybe you want a more elaborate creation and will work in it over the course of a few days! Whatever process you choose, really focus on that particular process. And of course, bring your awareness to that statement in the middle. Whenever we experience distress and fear, try not to forget about all the wonderful things in your life. What are you grateful for?