One of my all-time favorite memories as a child was getting a new box of crayons. Everything about it was wonderful: the vivid colors, the new smell, the way they felt on the coloring sheets. Now that I am an adult, I find that not much has changed. I love to sit and color. It takes me back to my carefree days, and I find that I’m not alone in this unorthodox method of de-stressing.
For many years, therapists have recognized art as a way to relieve patient’s emotional and physical distress. Oftentimes, life can be overwhelming and words can fail us when we try to convey our turbulent or strong emotions. Coloring can provide an outlet for all of these things we cannot seem to express, be they joyful or of sorrow.
In another study, adult coloring books have been observed to have a very similar effect to meditation. Once involved in completing their picture, the person coloring can block out internal and external negativity and focus on the moment, on the movement of pencil or crayon on paper. People diagnosed with anxiety and/or ADHD had been observed in multiple studies as being less fidgety, calmer, and much more able to pay attention to the task at hand.
While obviously not a cure-all for any condition, this bit of nostalgia can be used as a balm to the adult mind plagued with adult problems.
As a mother of three with a full time job, I can easily attest to the fact that life can get out of hand. School, work, bath time, diapers, bedtime, and household chores all combine to form a hair-pulling, eye-twitching, stress fueled melt-down. I needed a bit of help unwinding, and after a little research, I found the perfect all natural solution that calls for nothing but an open mind and a small section of floor: yoga.
Yoga means union and is a mind and body practice that hinges on harmonizing the two. It has an expansive history that covers centuries as well as a multitude of countries. There were many different schools of thought under the large umbrella of “yoga”. Modernized yoga, however, gained popularity in the 1980’s and completely exploded in 2001 when its many physical and mental health benefits were made more widely known. It’s poses call for quiet and gentle movement, an awareness of the body that helps to still the mind and drain away the stress of daily life as well as helping to keep the body fit. The different movements and poses build the core, refine balance, and help with posture.
For me, a quiet living room and an instructional video that is only a search engine away combine to create the perfect scenario. I’m comfortable, content, and able to focus on what I’m doing. There’s no need for a baby sitter, and I can feel refreshed, relaxed, and recharged. For many others, a classroom environment with a knowledgeable instructor is preferred. Many gyms and fitness centers offer yoga classes at convenient times and affordable rates. Whichever environment helps you to rejuvenate, yoga is a wonderful way to relax. Namaste.