Since it's Stress Awareness Month, we thought we'd remind you of how great colouring for mindfulness is!
Mindfulness has become the buzzword of our times. It has been shown many times to be effective in helping people to alleviate stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions as well as physical pain such as arthritis.
Read on to learn more about the practice of Mindfulness, some of the history of the practice and how colouring for adults can be a beneficial mindful activity. Then pick up your pens and give it a go!
What is Mindfulness?
Simply put, Mindfulness is a form of meditation. It is an introspective practice which calls attention to things in the present moment exactly as they are without judgement, or analysis whilst adopting an attitude of openness and kindness to yourself and others. It can be an extremely pleasant experience, and often a journey of self-liberation and exploration.
Where did it come from?
People following Buddhism use Mindfulness, and it makes up the seventh concept on the Eightfold Path which is a fundamental part of reaching Nirvana in Buddhism. This practice helps to develop clarity and insight into the nature of reality which Buddhism teaches is impermanent and without self. As part of this, Buddhist meditation encourages people to discard negative states which is where a lot of contemporary Mindfulness practice is built from.
How does it work?
Mindfulness works by focusing the thoughts and attention onto one activity or sense, and accepting that process exactly as it is while exploring it with a curiosity and open mind. The simplest meditations are made up of just focussing on the breath, and all the parts thereof. By calling the attention completely to the breath, a person is allowed to forget all other distractions and upset, and can, therefore, accept the things around them in a more transient way.
Oftentimes, this will then move to thoughts, feelings or even pain, and a person is more able to focus on this as a non-permanent phenomenon, therefore letting go of negative thoughts, feelings and compulsions.
This process has been used more recently as a treatment both by medical practitioners. As the practice is focussed around the present moment, self-compassion and self-development it has proven to be an effective therapy for many mental health conditions and even in the management of chronic pain!
Colouring as a Mindful Activity
- Colouring easily fits into the mindfulness dynamic, repetitive motion and concentration required to colour are a meditative practice and one which can be used to call the attention to the present, which is the core of all mindfulness activities. Follow the below steps to see how you can be Mindful while colouring.
- When you colour, try to colour 1n a quiet place, with no distractions.
- Call your attention to your breathing and to the present moment. Forget anything that has happened previously, or might happen when you finish colouring. Focus only on the task at hand - the colouring.
- When you put your colouring medium to your page, take note of how it feels on the paper, is it rough or smooth?
- Appreciate the colours and patterns, feel them and see them. Are you colouring in curves or sharp angles? How do they feel to colour? Notice the way these things feel and accept them exactly as they are.
- Be kind to yourself! If your mind wanders off (and it will!) just notice that the mind is wandering and bring the task at hand. It's perfectly normal and acceptable and is part of our human nature. And if you colour out of the lines? Accept that too! What is done is just that - it is done. You can't change it, so don't worry about it!