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Strokes of Positivity: Lettering and Calligraphy as Mental Health Superheroes


Lettering and calligraphy with flowers and leaves
Lettering for Mental Wellness

Hey there, my readers! We talk books all the time. Let’s talk a little about formatting. Recently, I was exploring some formatting options for my latest book, and I realized how gorgeous it would look if someone penned my book name? So, I spoke with my friend Mahe Zehra. MZ is a Certified Zentangle Teacher, the founder of MZCreates, and my go-to lettering expert! This fabulous artist does many other awesome things, but that’s another story. You might remember her from her guest blog.


So MZ and I got to talking and discussed how lettering and calligraphy bring artistry and mindfulness together. Since I created my mental wellness journal, I have been intrigued by all things mental health. And let’s admit it, we’re all looking for ways to find our Zen amidst the hustle and bustle. So here we are!


Let’s talk about how lettering and calligraphy minimize stress and maximize confidence. Who doesn’t want that? I’m bringing you some science-backed (and MZ-backed) reasons why these creative endeavors do wonders for your mental health!

  • The Calming Power of Flow State: Research shows that engaging in creative activities like lettering and calligraphy induces a state of focus and immersion that promotes relaxation and reduces stress levels. That’s your flow state. So, whether you’re doodling or perfecting those strokes, you’re whisked away to a peaceful haven where anxieties fade into the background. [1] Does anyone else have a field of flowers in their head?

  • A Mindful Escape from Daily Worries: Life’s a rollercoaster, but there’s an antidote! Lettering and calligraphy offer a mindful escape from the chatter in our minds. My brain just doesn’t quit. It’s a wonder I get any sleep. Concentrating on each stroke and curve can keep you present in the moment, leaving behind worries about the past and future. This meditative experience soothes the soul and elevates your mental clarity, leaving you feeling refreshed and renewed. [2] Hello, good Zzz!

  • Stress Reduction and Emotional Expression: Lettering and calligraphy are your secret weapons against stress. Engaging in these creative pursuits releases dopamine, the happy hormone, which reduces stress and enhances feelings of joy. Additionally, expressing emotions through your art provides an outlet for pent-up feelings, making navigating life’s ups and downs easier. [3] Plus, I journal! Imagine how pretty it can be with lettering!

  • Building Confidence and Self-Esteem: Don’t we all want our inner creative genius to take a bow? Well, lettering and calligraphy can boost your confidence like a cheerleading squad! As you hone your skills and see your progress, you build a sense of accomplishment that spills over into other aspects of life. [4] Think pretty printable affirmations! I love having them everywhere I can see.

So, while I’m thinking about publishing, maybe I’ll try my hand at doing something for my book cover. Or maybe I find something that really catches my reader’s eye. Those letters can convey different emotions. Think about how we search for different fonts when we write on our computers. Or how we like customizing our phone’s icons. There’s something about how the words are written and not just what they are saying.


In an era dominated by digital fonts and emojis, hand-lettering brings a personal touch and authenticity to book covers and titles. A beautifully hand-crafted title can set the tone for the entire reading experience. What’s more, the magic of lettering can also extend inside the book. Chapter headings, quotes, and illustrations lovingly penned with calligraphy breathe life into the pages, turning each turn into an enchanting journey.


As we celebrate good mental health, let’s cherish lettering and calligraphy’s contributions to weaving stories and making book reading a captivating adventure!


If you want an introduction to Lettering, check out Mahe Zehra’s Lettering book here:



You can check out my wellness journal 'Dance of the Fallen Leaves - Healing with Rumi' here:



Here’s to Zen lettering!


References:

[1] Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

[2] Fredrickson, B. L. (2000). Extracting Meaning From Past and Future: The Benefit of Focusing on Happiness Now.

[3] Kaimal, G., Ray, K., & Muniz, J. (2016). Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants’ Responses Following Art Making.

[4] Stuckey, H. L., & Nobel, J. (2010). The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature.

[5] Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). How to Increase and Sustain Positive Emotion: The Effects of Expressing Gratitude and Visualizing Best Possible Selves.


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