"According to clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis, coloring is a stress-free activity that relaxes the amygdala — the fear center of the brain — and allows your mind to get the rest it needs." ~Kristian Wilson
It was the quietest and calmest they ever were. Doodling and coloring created an oasis for their minds and bodies. And then they could focus on the work at hand. They could respond to the challenges of the moment with greater calm, empathy, and creativity
Nevertheless, in a life that demands 110% of your energy and attention, I have a hunch that you, too, need an oasis to calm your mind. To come home to your center. To open to your wiser, more creative self.
Ready to reduce stress? Grab your crayons
Coloring is an activity that engages different hemispheres of the brain, and relaxes the amygdala - the part of the brain that regulates emotions affected by fear and stress. And it helps move us into a freer and more creative state.
That's why therapists have been prescribing it to their clients since the days of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Read more about the many benefits of coloring here.
When my mind is agitated and I can't see my next step, or my monkey mind is too busy swinging from vine to vine to meditate, I reach for my markers and colored pencils. And it calms me right down. And it opens up my creative wisdom.
Sometimes I write a meditative phrase, and I doodle and color around it:
Try This: Take a 5-minute coloring break
You can draw your own doodle line--just place your pen on the page and let it go into curves and loops without ever lifting it from the page. Then grab your crayons or colored pencils (office highlighters will work in a pinch!) and color away.
Or, if you want to just start coloring right away, here's a simple one to get you started.
Just click on the "Doodle Oasis" file below and print it out.
3. Notice if anything has shifted--your energy, your mood, your perspective. Does anything look different? Welcome any ideas that come up. But if not, don't worry. Just giving yourself 5 minutes of stress-reducing calm has just done your mind and body a world of good.
Do you have a favorite coloring book? Let us know in the comments below!