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From colouring mandalas to legal graffiti

Life’s journey is filled with unexpected twists, and sometimes, the path to well-being takes us through the colorful realms of creativity and self-expression. Obesity among youth poses complex challenges, affecting not only their physical health but also their emotional landscapes. While we’ve long celebrated the therapeutic benefits of art therapy, particularly through the soothing practice of coloring mandalas, we’re about to embark on a different kind of journey—one that doesn’t require organized efforts but rather encourages individuals to explore the healing potential of art. From the calming embrace of mandalas to the vibrant energy of street art, this article aims to raise awareness about how art, in its many forms, can be a tool for obese youth to discover their inner strength, boost their self-esteem, and navigate their unique challenges.

Obese youth often face stress, leading to emotional eating as a coping mechanism. Coloring mandalas has proven to be an effective way to manage stress and reduce reliance on unhealthy foods. However, beyond coloring within the lines, art therapy also encompasses legal graffiti. Just as graffiti artists transform urban spaces into vibrant expressions on officially approved walls, obese youth can channel their emotions into art. While coloring mandalas offers a calm, introspective approach to stress reduction, legal graffiti provides a more dynamic and expressive outlet, appealing to those who thrive on active, group-based stress relief.

Art therapy, whether through mandalas or legal graffiti, plays a pivotal role in helping obese youth develop a positive body image and enhance self-esteem. Completing a mandala can instill a sense of accomplishment, but so can creating colorful, large-scale murals. Coloring mandalas fosters self-reflection and a measured journey toward improved self-esteem and body image, while legal graffiti offers external affirmation and camaraderie in a collaborative environment. Both avenues encourage self-confidence and self-acceptance.

Obesity often brings feelings of frustration, shame, and isolation. Art therapy provides a constructive outlet for these emotions, and the world of legal graffiti follows suit. Engaging in creative expression, obese youth can release complex emotions and develop healthier coping skills, reducing reliance on unhealthy behaviours. Colouring mandalas offers a structured, controlled environment for emotional release, suitable for those who prefer a measured approach. Legal graffiti’s fluid and expressive nature is well-suited for dynamic emotional release and adaptable coping skills.

While traditional art therapy tends to be sedentary, legal graffiti can inadvertently promote physical activity. Colouring mandalas provide a tranquil escape from daily challenges, while legal graffiti engages participants in dynamic art creation, increasing physical activity and exploration. Obese youth may find themselves exploring urban landscapes, engaging in painting sessions, and increasing their physical movement as they create art. This added physical activity contributes to a more balanced and active lifestyle.

Art therapy often occurs in group settings, offering obese youth the chance to connect with peers facing similar challenges. Legal graffiti, too, fosters a sense of belonging, as youth come together to collaborate on mural projects, forging a supportive community.

Art therapy, whether through colouring mandalas or embracing legal graffiti, presents a tailored approach to addressing the unique mental health needs of obese youth. By expanding our understanding of art therapy to include diverse forms of creative expression, we can raise awareness about the potential for art to be a catalyst for positive change. Whether obese youth choose to pick up coloured pencils or paint urban masterpieces, the therapeutic benefits of art are accessible to all, offering hope, self-acceptance, and the potential for brighter mental health outcomes.