How Art can Help Heal Mental Health Struggles (with Morgan Harper Nichols)

In this podcast (episode #277) and blog, I speak with artist, poet, storyteller and best-selling author Morgan Harper Nichols about how art and poetry can help us process life and all its challenges, and the beautiful reality of how far each of us have come in our own lives. 

As Morgan describes in a poem in her incredible book, How Far You Have Come, there is often joy on the other side of an experience, but how you get there may start in the trenches. Failure, sadness and joy are not mutually exclusive.

In life, like on a map, often there is no “finish line”. Sometimes you take a journey and you end up somewhere, and sometimes you go somewhere else. You can learn something from every place on the road—every part of the journey matters.

If, on this journey, you start to feel uninspired to create, remember that you don’t have to. It is just as important to listen and engage with the world around you as to add to it. Morgan says we should welcome these uninspired moments as moments to simply “be”. Be gentle with yourself. Take time to take things in. Let the quiet moments fill you up. Let them be enough. Wherever you are in your life, have grace, not just for others, but for yourself too. It is okay not to be productive or creative all the time. It is okay to just “be” when you feel at a loss or directionless.

You also don’t have to wait until you are happy to create things. As Morgan notes, when life is challenging, the very act of starting to create a piece of art or writing can help unlock something deep within you, which can grow and show you different parts of yourself on your journey. One of her favorite quotes is “I cannot tell you what will happen, but it will be different when the light pours in.” Take the time to see the light pour in, but give yourself grace while you wait.

The same can be said for the happy moments in life. Sometimes you don’t have the words for joy. Sometimes you just have to experience it… to sit with the joy and just “be”, and see where that takes you.

For more on the mental health benefits of art and poetry and experiencing the journey of life, listen to my podcast with Morgan (episode #277) and check out her book, website and Instagram.

This podcast was sponsored by:

Feetures, a family-owned and operated company that designs all their socks with a custom-like fit for peak performance, which means they don’t slip, they don’t bunch, and they certainly don’t give you blisters! They are so confident that you’ll love their socks that they’ve also given listeners of Cleaning Up The Mental Mess $10 Off Your First Pair of Feetures when you go to 

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Podcast Highlights

1:22 Why Morgan went from singing and songwriting to visual art, poetry and storytelling 

5:10 Why Morgan wrote her book, How Far You Have Come

10:40 Why all of our life journeys matter

13:50 The power of listening and engaging with the world around you

15:00 Why you don’t have be productive all the time

28:00 How art can help us process life 

35:10 Why we need to give ourselves grace

45:30 How art can help us when we are feeling down 

50:30 What to do when you don’t feel inspired or creative

This podcast and blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.

Switch On Your Brain LLC. is providing this podcast as a public service. Reference to any specific viewpoint or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by our organization. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. If you have any questions about this disclaimer, please contact 


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