Three Benefits of Managing Stress by Drawing

This month’s focus is health; specifically the mental condition that creates the foundation for your health. The American Psychological Association shares that individuals can see improvement after learning how to handle stress. This was true for about fifty per cent of participants. That sounds pretty good to me.

How do you cope with stress?

I consider a variety of activities as go-to stress relief. My newest go-to has become drawing. I was introduced to an art method called Zentangle® and since then I’ve never looked back. I don’t consider myself a naturally talented artist. I like to draw, love it at times, but I struggle with bringing what I see in my mind to life. Zentangle® has changed that for me.

The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. “Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at about Zentangle® Theory.

Focus on Relaxation

The value of Zentangle® is the ceremonial practice of repetitive, simple steps that support relaxation, focus and inspiration. The tag line for this is “Anything is possible one stroke at a time.” Practicing this art method makes me think of meditative practices, such as walking mazes and guided visualizations. There is something to the focus required that clears the mind and reveals the significance of any situation. When you are relaxed, the neurons fire in your brain differently than when you’re stressed. Perhaps the path is more direct, I don’t understand the science, but I know it’s true.

Time for Reflection

When I am stressed, I find that just fifteen minutes of Zentangle® puts things back into perspective for me. Through drawing, I take the time to stop and do a little reflection, even if just subconsciously. The stress that impacts my life is often from things that are beyond my control, but that does not stop their impact on me. Taking the time to step back and let go of everything allows me to recognize what I should be working on, and what I need to let go of. If you’re stuck on something, taking a few minutes to work on something else completely. Step away and relax; change your focus to bring you clarity that you won’t find even after spending hours spinning on solutions.

Avoid the Downward Spiral

It is easy to get caught in the downward spiral of obsessing about things beyond our control and trying to work outside of our means to impact things that we should not or can not. Before I discovered Zentangle®, I would hold onto these weights and let them bring me down. This weight was stealing my life. I can’t tell you how many hours have been given over to unnecessary worry. So much time lost to being a couch potato because your mind is consumed by what may never be. Now, with a little drawing, I can let go and my life is my own. I have captured that time back and with it I am doing more with my family; more for me. Not to mention I am creating some pretty incredible art to go along with it!

Zentangle-Art

Drawing isn’t for everyone, but everyone has stress. What do you have that you can do to avoid having those feelings consume you,? How
do you find the significant action you can take to move on?