Happy Thanksgiving! We’ll be posting just once today, to give our staff a break for the holiday.


Emotions can run high at any family get-together, especially during the holidays. After this year’s presidential election, Thanksgiving 2016 could be a reaaaal doozy. To provide an outlet plus emotional support, we asked art therapist Maryolga Gonzalez to lead us through some soothing, centering exercises in the form of coloring pages. Gather up some coloring tools, scissors, and tape, then print out the pages below. All together, it’s your ticket to a meditative escape from Thanksgiving happenings, if you need one…

Inner Love Maze

This maze leads you on a journey to find warming love in its center. It is similar to a mandala, an artform used to soothe and heal. The activity asks you to reflect on what’s going on with you right now. It guides you to think of things that get in the way of your happiness, but also to recognize what feeds into your happiness :)

maze

Download the maze here, then follow these directions:

  1. Grab crayons, markers, or colored pencils in your two favorite colors. These colors will represent you in the maze and will follow you through it ’til the end.
  2. Choose four colors that represent negativity and not-so-happy feelings or experiences. Then choose four colors that represent positivity and happiness.
  3. Make a quick list of eight obstacles in your life. Then make a list of eight happy parts of your life.
  4. Time to start the maze. When you reach the first corner, choose one of the obstacles or rewards from your lists. Write that word in the corner with a negative color (for an obstacle) or a positive color (for a reward). Pause to take a deep breath and reflect.
  5. Using your two favorite colors, fill in the path until you reach the next corner.
  6. Repeat Steps Four and Five for all corners, until you reach the loving heart in the center of the maze ❤

The Bridge

Sometimes we can feel stuck in a crappy place, with some real negative feels. This bridge is designed to help you envision yourself crossing over to a more comforting state of being.

bridge

Click here to download it, then follow these instructions:

  1. For five minutes, listen to your body. Listen to the thoughts floating through your head. Listen to the emotions and feelings felt.
  2. Identify words that describe your emotions right now. Choose them from the words on this page:

    tabs

    Or if you don’t see a word, write it in a blank tab. Get those thoughts out of you and onto the page!

  3. Cut out all the words, then glue or tape the ones that represent how you feel on one side of the bridge.
  4. Take three deep breaths. In and out. Now what words and thoughts are rising to the surface? Choose or write tabs for these words, then stick them next to the words already on the bridge. Take your time—there’s no need to rush.
  5. Repeat Step Four until you reach the other side of the bridge. What words are coming up for you as you’re making progress?
  6. Take one huuuuge breath. In and out.

And you’re done! You are in control of your emotions and can take yourself to a better place. Congratulations on making it to the other side. ♦

Maryolga Gonzalez is an art therapist and facilitator living in Toronto. She uses the power of art to support people through challenging times.