Monday, 16 November 2015

Healing with art

I occasionally talk about mindfulness, and how noticing the small things in life helped pull me out of grief, gave fleeting pleasure, and reassured me that I would feel joy again.  This renewed attention to detail - to a beautiful sight, or the warmth of the sun on my back, or the thrill of seeing a tui in my tree - made me want to reproduce what I was seeing or the things that carried fond memories, and so I took up painting. I had never been artistic, though I enjoy and appreciate the visual arts, architecture, interior design, and photography, so was keen to see what I could do.

It turned out that I really enjoyed it, not so much for what I managed to produce (which was far from skilful!), but the way I could totally focus on it, how quickly time would pass, and how my mind would quiet, and troubles temporarily disappear. Having read some of the research on adult colouring books, meditation, and mindfulness, I can see why it helped me at the time.

Recently, I've found myself experimenting with colouring (read my #Microblog Mondays post over on A Separate Life to learn how, and to see an example). It's easier and less pressured than painting, as all I have to do is colour between the lines, yet it has the same beneficial results. Five years ago I would never have believed I'd be suggesting this, but if you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, or just needs something calming in your day, you should give it a try.






10 comments:

  1. I love the colourful butterflies!

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    1. You have to thank my sister for that. She bought a book full of butterflies and birds.

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  2. I'm so glad that you found coloring! I (re)discovered it over the summer and spend a few minutes coloring pretty much every day, usually in the mornings. I do need to try out colored pencils though. I love using my fine tip markers and pens, but I think that pencils would change it up some.

    Also, I agree with Klara that your butterflies are gorgeous!

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  3. Again, thanks for the minder. Note to self: make the time for self-care.

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  4. The local megabookstore has tons of these colouring books on display, and in fact the last few times we've been there, they've had a table set up with colouring pages & coloured pencils for people to try. (Smart marketing, lol.) I haven't tried it yet, but I've been sorely tempted. I've always had fun colouring with the Little Princess and with the nephews when they were younger.

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    1. I confess I hardly ever go into bookstores these days, so have never seen any of the colouring books on display. But I'm tempted to now.

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  5. Oh my gosh, yes. I love super detailed coloring books, like The Secret Garden, because you can be creative in how you apply the color but you don't have to create the outlines. I would be in sad sorry shape if I had to create it from scratch... I am known at school for leaving arms off stick figures and needing to draw labels with arrows to my illustrations for things because no sane human would be able to figure it out. It seems drawing and painting are enjoyable for you, too, and that sounds awesome -- to not be confined by the lines. I absolutely believe in the calming, anti-anxiety powers of coloring!

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  6. I've never done that. I'd like to actually paint - with all the paints and easel and brushes I bought months ago.....

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  7. I have been thinking about getting an actual colouring book. I tried using an app, but the lack of actual movement -- the coloured pencil traveling back and forth -- ceased to change my mood.

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  8. When I was in college, I picked up a coloring book and crayons for the fun of it. Then some of my friends followed suit. While taking a break from studying, we would sometimes break out the materials and color. There was something soothing in the movement and feeling the friction on the page. Since then, there have been times when I pulled out the book and crayons out to relax.

    Since moving, I have not yet found them again. So, while at the craft store, I picked up one of the new adult coloring books to try with a new set of colored pencils. We'll see how it goes when I get the time or make the time.

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