What’s it about ?

‘Pick Me Ups’ is a project I started as my Final Major Project whilst studying a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

The theme of the project is anxiety and how to manage it. It started with the idea of making something small and portable that could potentially be a tool used to manage daily anxiety.

What are they?

‘Pick Me Ups’ are a pack of cards with a variety of thought provoking and affirming statements, paired with illustrations intentionally left blank so that they can be coloured in, being a calming tool and a way to make each one unique.


Although already having studied psychology and methods into treating and managing mental health issues a few years ago, I felt that further research was needed. I began by looking in to methods of treating anxiety such as different types of psychotherapy – cognitive behavioral therapy, emotive response therapy etc. as well as research into to colouring therapy and mindfulness for the illustrations on the cards.

Research has shown that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is the most widely-used therapy for anxiety disorders.It has shown to be effective in the treatment of panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, among many other conditions.

Cognitive behavioral therapy addresses negative patterns and distortions in the way we look at the world and ourselves. As the name suggests, this involves two main components:

Cognitive therapy examines how negative thoughts, or cognitions, contribute to anxiety.

Behavior therapy examines how you behave and react in situations that trigger anxiety.


The basic premise of cognitive behavioral therapy is that our thoughts—not external events—affect the way we feel.

These ideas have been translated onto the cards in forms of affirming statements, designed to be a tool to help manage daily anxieties.

These are an example of the statements used on the cards:

  • Accept that you’re anxious.
  • This is temporary.
  • What would you be doing if you weren’t anxious?

In addition to the statements I made illustrations designed to be coloured in. The idea to make these illustrations came from looking into mindfulness colouring books and art therapy.

With mindfulness the buzz word of the moment, colouring in is an easy way to calm the mind and occupy the hands. Speaking at a mental health workshop in 2009, author, speaker and communication expert Mark Robert Waldman explained that active meditation focuses attention on simple tasks that require repetitive motion. Concentrating this way replaces negative thoughts and creates a state of peace, and many people who have a difficult time with concentrative meditation can find this easier. This gentle activity where you choose the colours to create your picture and the repetitive action of colouring it in focuses the brain on the present, blocking out any intrusive thoughts.


Pick Me Ups Questionnaire – Final Design Feedback

1) What are your initial thoughts on the idea? Do you understand the project concept?

Initial thoughts – I like the size of the cards, they’re effective and have beautiful patterns and shaped designed to focus and be calming.

2) Is the blog informative?

The blog is informative! It gives the ‘ins and outs’ of the product as well are what they are and are for.

3) After using the cards, do you think that they are affective? How do they make you feel?

I felt calmed for sure! The cards are incredibly pleasing; I liked the spirals the most!

4) If you were to have a pack would you use them and why?

Of course! The size is a lot more convenient, I’d rather have these than a big  colouring book.

5) If the packs were available would you buy one?


6) What are your thoughts on the illustrations?

Loved the patterns, I liked the attention to detail.

7) Are the illustrations effective and are they easy to colour in?


8) Is there anything that you’d add or change?

I’d like to see more designs.

9) Would you say that they were calming?

Totally! As they’re quite small you focus more on the colouring into make sure you don’t go outside of the lines

10) What did you think about the statements that were on the cards? Would you say that they were helpful?

I found the illustrations on the cards calming and they helped me focus, as for the statements I would say that they would be helpful and I would recommend them to someone who experiences frequent anxiety.

12) Any additional comments…