Walls of Wonder

Blasting our Worries Away with Annie King

In the words of Well + Wonder artist Annie King, "We are bigger than our worries". This quote alone evokes powerful emotions in our current reality. Seeing these words come across a screen while Annie's children BLAST their worries away, this quote takes on a whole new meaning that has moved us to tears.

In addition to her career as a professional artist, Annie King has an MS in Art Therapy and Clinical Counseling from Eastern Virginia Medical School. She says this of her work as an Art Therapist...

"I have witnessed the incredible power that art therapy can bring to facilitate processing and healing for people of all ages. There is no better time than now to hone in on this incredible tool that can be used to help us process our stress and emotions during this pandemic."

While Annie's video is not an official Art Therapy session, those are reserved for client-therapist relationships, she designed this activity to be therapeutic for her children, and hopefully for yours too! If you don't have children at home, blasting worries is VERY much appropriate for adults. Watch below to see for yourself!

Try This at Home! Annie's Insights and Step by Step Guide to Blasting our Worries Away…

The current times have created much chaos, confusion, uncertainty, and stress! Many of us have experienced loss in one way or another. The need to take a minute to care for our mental and emotional health has never been more universal and vital. Our children may also be carrying a heavy mix of emotions—from sadness and anxiety to feeling disconnected, lonely and bored. Schools are closed, extracurricular activities are postponed, and much of what they may have been looking forward to has been canceled. During this time, the arts can play a significant role in helping children connect with each other, express themselves, process stress, and stay engaged in creative learning. Here is my step by step guide to blasting your worries away...

1. Identify Worries: Begin by discussing, writing, and drawing personal experiences of the pandemic on paper. We used permanent markers, but crayons or oil pastels would work as well.

  • Disappointment, worry and loneliness were some of our main themes. Naming feelings helps children begin to identify their emotions in a healthy manner. Drawing/writing them is a nonverbal way for them to safely communicate and release negative experiences.

2. Process the Emotions: During this part, we identified what was in and out of our control. We then focused on what we can control, like our attitudes.

  • Arranging experiences externally on paper activates logical thinking and can help children see their emotions/experiences as separate from themselves. My children realized that they are not their internal emotions, which evoked strength and awareness, as noted by my 8 year old daughter who said, “we are bigger than our worries.”

3. Blast the Worries: We “blasted” our Covid-19 feelings and experiences by using aerosol paints to spray them. My kids love spray paint. It gets their bodies moving and made them feel like conquerors to “spray the negative emotions away.”

  • If you do not have spray paint, you can substitute this step with watered down paint and having kids blow the paint through a straw. That method incorporates deep breathing exercises as well!

4. Transformation time: Transforming negative experiences into beautiful art. This step helps shift perspectives. We took time to note affirmations, strengths, and core values that are still present even during hard times.

  • My kids loved their sprayed paintings as is, but an additional step would include writing/drawing these values on top of the painting with chalk to conclude the project and tie all the elements together. 

We cannot thank Annie enough for sharing this glimpse into her professional world, and her home! Even during the most trying times, art has the power to heal and connect our families, our communities and our world. Happy blasting!!

If you'd like to read more on the field of Art Therapy, click HERE.