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Practicing Mindful Drawing To Relax Your Mind and Focus Better
A tool you can use anywhere and anytime to quiet anxious thoughts
Building on the previous visual perception exercises, I want to empower you to bring more mindfulness into your daily life by sharing tools, techniques, and exercises so you can overcome the obstacles in your way and thrive in work and life.
Anxiety is an emotion we all experience at one time or another. The anxious thoughts we experience can range from subtle inconveniences or so severe that it gets out of control and affects our daily life.
Today, I want to introduce you to a mindfulness drawing exercise to help you deal with anxious thoughts that pop up and do their best to slow you down.
Some of my favorite tools for dealing with anxiety are meditation, breathing exercises, writing, and running, and the underutilized tool that is drawing.
For me, drawing is a powerful tool to deal with anxious thoughts. It helps to get me out of the worries in my head and focus on the present moment. It helps to break out of the story playing in my mind. It's a tool I can use anywhere and anytime to calm and relax myself.
Today, I want to share with you a mindful drawing exercise you can use anywhere and any time to relax and focus so you can break out from the clutches of anxious thoughts.
“The wonderful thing about the path of mindful drawing is that … it’s a dynamic process, which invites us to engage with awareness, not just with our minds, but with our bodies too, with our whole being. All we need to do is — do it. Just draw, and all the rest follows.” – Wendy Ann Greenhalgh
Exercise: Drawing Your Breath
A sheet or piece of paper, a notebook, or even a Post-It sticky.
Exercise: Draw Your Breath
Hold your pen/pencil on top of your paper
Close your eyes or keep them open and notice your breath
Visualize your breath as a line on the paper and follow your breath with the pen/pencil as you breathe in and out.
Variations to experiment with:
Try a breathing exercise such as 4-7-8 breathing, where you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and then exhale for 8 seconds. Using an app such as iBreathe can make this easier, so you don't need to look at the watch and can just follow the audio prompts.
Mix it up - try creating a continuous line for all your breaths or create a new line for each inhale and exhale.
How did it go? Did you like it or not so much?
Please share your thoughts or your drawings if you feel like it.
Hopefully, you notice by doing the exercise that drawing is a powerful tool to break free from anxious thoughts and to put you in a more relaxed state of mind.
We may not be able to change a challenging situation, but we can change how we respond to it, and mindful drawing is a powerful way to help us create the space so we can relax and respond in a way that aligns with our values.
Till next time, stay strong!
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