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Keep Calm & Distract Yourself

When your thoughts are stuck in a stress loop.  Your thoughts keep circling around the same thought or worry and you can’t seem to switch gears.  Try doing some playful to distract yourself and shift your focus.  Creative activities like knitting, flower arranging, or painting will help you find some relief.  I heard that, “you’re not good at that stuff.”   You don’t have to be good at it.  It is about distracting your thoughts not producing a product.  I suggest coloring to my clients.  Coloring is something you can do even on your worse days, when the anxiety is high.  Give it a shot!

Adult coloring books are trending now.  These new adult books are being marketed as a stress management tool.  The truth is they are indeed very therapeutic.  Coloring is an immersive activity that often causes you to lose your sense of time.  Focusing on the picture you can reduce anxiety and tension.

This form of therapy has been around since Carl Jung suggested filling in mandalas as a relaxation technique.  I have been prescribing coloring to clients with anxiety, depression, and life change adjustment issues for many years.  Clients report feeling calmer during and after coloring.  They often keep using this tool long after their issues have passed.

I personally enjoy coloring after a hard day in the therapist’s chair.  I have dinner and then grab a coloring book and my markers.  I am instantly transported to a calm world devoid of stress.  Before I know it, the clock is chiming “bedtime” and I am relaxed enough to get a good night’s sleep.

I like the look and feel of coloring with markers, but I also love using crayons.  The smell comforts me.  This child-like activity can bring back good childhood memories.

Adult coloring books can be found everywhere these days.  Look on Amazon for a great selection, but check out Wal-Mart, the grocery store, and the the dollar store too.  Don’t forget kids coloring books, they are great fun and therapeutic as well.

You might wish to try my favorite coloring books:

Color Me Happy     Color Me Calm    Secret Garden

Remember this is a great excuse to buy a huge new box of crayons!  Relax, enjoy, and get your feel good vibes.


About Geraldine M. Brown MS, LPC, LIMHP (162 Articles)
I hold a Master's Degree in counseling. I am a licensed professional counselor and a licensed independent mental health practitioner. I have over 25 years of experience counseling people from all walks of life.
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