Mindfulness Meditation and Flow in Visual Arts Education

The fact that the society in which we live today, social requirements, the race for quality of life, do create a society characterized by speed and stimuli which could lead to increased stress symptoms if not dealt with. This can lead to bad educational progress and distress amongst children and teenagers.
This is why it is vital that teachers are alert concerning these factors and find ways which possibly could help to reduce these symptoms and create an atmosphere which can enhance the well-being amongst children and teenagers within the school system.
Mindfulness is a state of mind and a form of meditation, a practice of present moment awareness, and flow is a mental stage which occurs while a person is performing an activity. Both factors have somewhat been developed over the last years, and studies which have been conducted, have shown that they can have positive effects on people’s well-being.
During the last years there has been a significant revival concerning people’s experience of practicing mindfulness. Such studies could further enhance knowledge on how mindfulness can be used within traditional visual arts education as a form of therapy along with other art therapies within the school system.
Art making is also considered to have calming effect on people and people have often stated that when working in a tangible way, when they get in touch with the visual arts material, and perceive and experience art making through the hands, a certain state of meditation is created. Why does this calmness occur? What happens within the body?
The purpose of this research is to study if art making can contribute to mental well-being amongst children and teenagers and study if art teachers can contribute to better mental well-being and increased self-empowerment with special emphasis on mindfulness and flow in art making. Also to increase understanding of people’s experience of these factors due to their utmost importance within the school system with that in mind to work against anxiety and stress. 
Anna Álfheiður Brynjólfsdóttir 
annabrynjolfs [at] gmail.com
Advisor: Íris Ingvarsdóttir