Vision board workshops helping keep anxieties low

Breagh Chiasson, a third-year university student, shows off a recent vision board that is helping her keep anxieties low for the upcoming year. Photo by Kayleen Sawatzky.

A lesser-known strategy for lowering anxiety is being hailed for helping people live a healthier life.

Vision board workshops, a type of artistic envisioning of personal desires, are providing a chance to physically see one’s goals by gluing inspiring photographs to a canvas.

Kayla Huszar is a therapist whose time is split between her private counselling service and instructing at Red Fox Creative Studio in Regina, where she encourages personal expression through art. She believes that vision boards have the power to manifest goals outside of the mind, thus making them seem more attainable.

“Vision boards help them identify what their goals are,” Huszar explained. “They could be physical things, like wanting to move or wanting a new house.”

“They could also be lifestyle things, like how to achieve balance, or wanting to spend more time with your kids. It’s showing how you want to live your live so you’re being authentic, honest, and intentional with the things you do.”

Once the goals are identified, making the board is a simple and therapeutic way to make sense of them: take old magazines, photographs, and quotes, cut them up and glue them on a board.

Huszar admits that the hardest part of making vision boards for high-stress people is finding the time to sit down and do it.

“I hear from people all the time who say they don’t have enough time to plan their goals,” she said. “They say they would love to sit down and do a vision board, but they never actually do it. That’s why we offer the workshops, so they are allowed the time and the space to sit down and do it together.”

Breagh Chiasson, who has been attending various vision board workshops since 2013, said that walking by her board every morning has helped her live her life more intentionally. She makes a new board at the start of every year in order to keep her anxieties about her future low.

“It’s not just art that I hang on my wall,” Chiasson said. “It’s art that inspires me, and has set meaning in a more creative way than just taking a pen and paper and making a list that I would never look at again. That might work for some people, but I need a visual reminder.”

Chiasson explains that one of the best aspects of making vision boards is that there are no boundaries or rules.

“One year I did a board that was just filled from corner to corner with things that made me happy,” Chiasson said. “Other years, my boards have been more serious and focused on mending relationships in my life that needed work. It really can be whatever experience you want it to be.”

Vision boards offer an option for people looking for new ways to keep their stresses organized, as well as plan a solution to work towards. For Chiasson, those stresses happen when she is focusing on the wrong things in her life. When that happens, she knows she can refer to her vision board for guidance.

“When we centre our minds and connect with who we truly are and know what we want for our lives, the anxieties don’t have power anymore,” Chiasson said.  “Sometimes we need that visual reminder to pull us back in the right direction, which is where the vision board comes into play. It is an amazing tool for mental and emotional health.”

According to Huszar, Red Fox Creative Studio runs around three vision board workshops a year, but she is willing to run private events for those who are interested in having some fun while expressing themselves through art.

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