A Colorful Path to Center
Have you ever had so much on your mind
that it feels like you’re stuck in a perpetual prison of your own thoughts?
If so, simply color your way out!
Addiction, anxiety, depression, and other mental health diagnoses often lead your brain to a point of singular obsessive focus. These peaks of the brain lead your consciousness into a state of mental “stuckness” that can seem insurmountable. As supportive friends and professionals urge you to “let go” your frustrations mount as you feel defeated by trying to overcome your negative thoughts no avail.
The trouble lies in using the most common strategies, that are doomed to fail from the start. When you tell yourself NOT to think about something specific, or to STOP thinking about that something, the ONLY thing that your brain recognizes is that something itself. Therefore, re-enforcing the very thing that you are trying to force your thoughts to overcome. You have to learn how to escape from thought loops.
It is the simplicity of diversion that holds the key to circumventing obsessive thoughts and stopping them dead in their tracks. The ability to purposefully detach from troubling thoughts is attained by completely diverting both the physical and mental functions that are maintaining your stress.
Color Stressful Thought Loops Away!
It may not sound as technical a fix as you feel that your problem demands, but IT WORKS! So let’s take a look at HOW and WHY.
For most of us, coloring was a fad that we abandoned as we aged out of childhood. As children, it was a creative, entertaining, and meditative hobby that filled quiet hours with contentment.
As adults, it’s a simple coping skill that we can revive to target the more mature issues that boggle our minds and keep us stuck. This non-confrontational outlet is something that is easily accessible, and capable of transporting our minds to the blissfully neutral place that we need it to go in order to think clearly. The benefits of coloring are psychologically worth it.
1. Cathartic Physical Release
The physical act of coloring is a cathartic activity that focuses your fine motor skills and requires movements that naturally decrease stress and tension. As your body and mind take ahold of the simple task, purging, processing, and refining your feelings starts to happen subconsciously while your focal point stays on the simply recreational task. Like sketching and painting, coloring provides you with an amazing ability to experience personal expression and restoration by literally letting your stressors transfer from your hand to the paper beneath.
2. Intentionally Benign Mental Focus
Withdrawing from your current state of mind and engaging in a focused activity allows your mind to essentially bargain with your subconscious and allow your stream of consciousness to find a way over your mental block, without focusing on it at all. Similar to meditation, coloring gives you a way to center your attention on something soothing, while the hard processing takes place effortlessly in the background. Making simple considerations like this to escape thought loops is widely effective in allowing you to acknowledge your underlying considerations through ‘tuning out’ the overwhelmingly repetitive thoughts and emotions that are keeping you stuck, thus giving your subconscious the ability to shift your body’s response to the issue and start actually letting it go.
3. Emotional Expression
People can easily comprehend the full impact of the feelings of others but experience difficulty accurately comprehending their own, especially when emotions are running high. Taking the time for artistic expression opens up areas of the brain that are often underused and give way to profound emotional expression and development, without stonewalling any unwanted emotions that may arise. This process gives you a way of letting out pent up emotions while providing a different head-space to identify and organize thoughts and feelings without muddling it up with obsessive preoccupation.
4. Unencumbered Thought Flow
Quit trying the same thing over and over again if is ISN’T working: that’s insanity right?
Passionate expression is more adaptable than other concrete states of mind, and it is more open to objectively experiencing underlying emotion. Therefore, the pliability of your thought flow is much looser when the mind is focused on artistic expression. Since evaluating your personal circumstances depends heavily on the consequences that your foresee, targeting complex thoughts will require more than obsessive focus to wade your way through. Evaluating your circumstances from a different angle allows you to more easily transition your basic reaction into something much more positive.
After as little as 20 minutes coloring, your mind and body are both progressively less stressed. Even if the original presenting problems pop back into your head when you're done; your responses to them will be different! Lower stress levels and deescalated emotional states will allow you to tackle your issue much more effectively after a brief mental holiday. Don’t get bogged down in thought loops when you could be courageously keeping your eyes on the prize of a life worth rejoicing in. With life, and recovery, bound to be riddled with ups and downs, coloring is a break worth taking!
#addiction #recovery #coping #lifeskills #healed #empowered #recovered
Recovery IS Possible!
Meg Glidden, MS, NCC