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.