Express Your Health through Artsby Bivi Franco on 01/21/17
Fighting cancer is rarely an easy and joyful topic to talk about. When one suffers from cancer, not only the patient is facing the stress and fear of the illness but also families and friends. Often families and friends feel desperate witnessing the pain and stress their loved ones go through with cancer, and it is not uncommon that they are eagerly in search of and suggesting alternative or unproven cancer treatments hoping one of these would free their loved ones from the terrible disease. This act of love is understandable but risky and could do more harm than help. Instead of focusing on our physical well-being which is not always under our control, it may be a better and safer option to work on our psychological well-being while facing cancer and this can be done in many ways including the practice of art.
In contrast of practising medicine, everyone can practice art with or without training anytime and anywhere they want. Practicing art can be as simple as expressing oneself through writing and there are growing empirical foundations for psychological and physical health benefits of expressive writing (Morgan et al. 2008). In order to find out the feasibility and effects of engaging a clinical population in a structured expressive writing task, a study was conducted in the waiting room or individual examination rooms at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) while patients waited to be seen by their medical team. Adult leukemia and lymphoma patients completed a variety of tasks including a baseline assessment, a 20-minute writing session, and an optional 3-week follow-up interview. According to the study, “participants reported positive responses to the writing, and immediately postwriting about half (49.1%) reported that writing resulted in changes in their thoughts about their illness, while 53.8% reported changes in their thoughts at the 3-week follow-up” (Morgan et al. 2008). The findings suggest that a single, brief writing exercise is related to cancer patients’ reports of improved quality of life.
As a non-profit-organization aiming to provide love, hope and encouragement to women and girls affected by cancer through Arts in Health programs, Feel Beautiful Today provides different Arts in Health programs to help patients understand and express themselves, and hopefully leads to improved quality of life. Through My Window is one of the FBT Arts in Health programs providing patients with the opportunity to master and express the hardship they go through. As mentioned earlier, art can be done anytime, anywhere. Through My Window does not require facilitators and can be done anytime free of charge with our sponsors’ donation. Patients can express themselves however they like with the art kit provided. No worries if patients think they are the “uncreative” ones as we provide tutorial video on our website to guide them through the creating process.
Everyone can be an artist and deserves to live a beautiful life. Leave the medical worries to health professionals and join Feel Beautiful Today to experience the mental and emotional benefits Arts in Health programs can bring you, your families and friends.
Morgan NP, Graves KD, et al. 2008. Implementing an Expressive Writing Study in a Cancer Clinic. Oncologist. 13: 196-204. doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2007-0147