Day: December 24, 2015

Adult Coloring Books

In the past year, there was a new activity craze that adults of all ages have been raving about. If you guessed adult coloring books, you’re right. People have been saying how this childhood pastime has been very helpful especially when dealing with stress. Doctors, psychologist, and therapists have recommended it for their patients. My therapist even recommended  me to  use adult coloring books. At first I was a little skeptical, because how can a coloring book reduce anxiety? I have colored in a coloring book before—it’s been years— but I never saw anything therapeutic about it.  Anyways, I ended up buying one at a local book store.

I never seen so many different ones! The ones I have usually seen are the mandalas:

printable_mandalas_01
This one isn’t too bad

I didn’t like that type of coloring activity…it made me dizzy just looking at it. I wanted one similar to Mischa Fellez’s work (a blogger I wrote an article on a couple months ago). Her art work was more artistic, expressive and free. So I tried to find a coloring book similar to hers.  So I came across this book:

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Fun book! Has mazes and puzzles in it too!

It’s a really nice book filled with imaginative lands and creatures…pretty much things you could see in an enchanted forest. Let me show you some of the ones I have colored:

Enchanted Forest_1

Enchanted Forest_2

Enchanted Forest_3

I tried using a special kind of crayon, but it didn’t make my work look good. The crayon I used was too big for some of the miniature illustrations.So I used some of my Copic markers, which was way better.

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I love Copic Markers!

Copic markers make the illustrations pop! And the best part of these markers is that its ink doesn’t bleed onto the other page.

Since I’ve been coloring in the coloring book, it’s been provided another source of mindfulness for me.  For those you don’t know what mindfulness is, according to Berkeley’s Greater Good website, mindfulness is being able to maintain “a moment-by-moment of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment.” Mindfulness helps you to learn to accept well… acceptance and reduce black and white thinking. It pretty much helps you learn how to live in the moment. For example while coloring, I’ve noticed how I’ve been more in the moment and not in another space and time. I’m not overthinking what “appropriate” marker I should use, I just use whatever color comes to mind. And I love using copic markers because I like how its brush caresses the pages of the book. Also coloring increases  my focus while engaged in the coloring activity. In a sense, using the right coloring utensils can make a difference when trying to tap into mindfulness. So choose them wisely. Lastly, (this should have been the first thing I mentioned) is how detailed the illustrations are. The patterns come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s more detailed than “whole bodied” illustrations.

So, then mindfulness is really established when coloring. The benefits of mindfulness you will gain are:

  • Reduction of negative emotions and stress
  • A natural form of natural antidepressants
  • An increase of density of gray matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy.
  • Development of Focus; distractions are tuned out and memory and attention skills are enhanced

I really noticed how mindfulness came upon me as I began coloring; the roaming thoughts were mellowed out and noise was shoved out. And after coloring, I felt more at peace and focused. The “high” that I developed while coloring stayed within me, because of the way coloring made me feel: happy. There are days  where I could go without coloring and I’d still feel good.  But if I should ever feel stressed,  I would pull out my colored markers and coloring book and go at it…for maybe two hours. And then I’d feel better again.

Now, I’m not one to follow crowds and trends, except if they happen to be in my interest. And well…this one takes the cake. It reminded me how much I used to enjoy drawing and coloring, until anxiety and depression really took over in my early twenties.  Now don’t look at adult coloring books as a quick fix for your anxiety or any sort of mental health issues. It’s an activity that is no different any other pastime activity like exercising, horseback riding, bowling or even blogging. It’s meant to be fun and bring out the fun and creative side of you.

Coloring is one of many mindfulness activities you can take part in apart from the typical mediation. So if you get the chance, give it go. I’m sure you’ll like it!

As a little bonus, I will show the work I use to do for fun when I was growing up. I use to draw my favorite characters and it brought me a lot of joy. Enjoy!

Goku

Ed Elric

Kenpachi Zaraki

Sasuke Uchiha

Hatsuharu Sohma

Yoruichi

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For more information:

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

The Benefits of adult coloring books

Coloring books for adults:  we asked therapists for their opinions 

Copic Markers

Copic

Mischa Fellez

Examples of Mischa Fellez work

 

School’s Out!

high-school-musical-2-schools-out

Finally I am out of school! Man! It was freakin’ crazy! I made the mistake of taking four class (equivalent of 12 units) and then working on three fieldwork assignments. Then on top of that I was working two jobs. Although, this is what most people do, this was my first time going to work during the week of school. When I was an undergrad, I worked on the weekends. Though, now I see why people who work during the week only take 6-9 units.

So far my grades are good, but jeez it was hell! Here am I doing all of this while combating anxiety and depression. Though I think anxiety gave me a much harder time. When school work got so overwhelming and/or I fell behind in my studies, (because I was catching up with textbooks on top of extra reading my instructors wanted me to read) I’d sometimes procrastinate because it was all just too much! I had to plan how to work my fieldwork assignments around my work and school schedule and I had one day a week to attend each one. One day! Geez! I did cry and I cried hard because I was high in work and school work, and low on funds to take care of myself. I got sick more often, because of the over working myself and anxiety. Again, I think maybe anxiety was more of the culprit.  Anxiety made me more prone to catching colds, because throughout the year I have a pretty good immune system. Though when I get stressed out from doing things like working four jobs (yes I did earlier this year). But let me tell you what helped get through it (apart from medication and yes, sleep): Honey and Emergen-C. Oh…my…gosh! They helped me get over my cold! Taking two tablespoon of raw honey is great for chest congestion and Emergen-C for a boost of energy and stronger immune system. Even when I’m not sick, I take Emgeren-C. It’s gotten me through the last month and a half of school and especially work.

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Emergen-C saved my life—my crazy/busy/exhausting life!

 

Before my mother told me of wonders of honey and Emergen-C, I was in danger of perhaps losing my first job. I was always calling out every Thursday, because I was burnt out from Monday-Wednesday, the busiest and longest days of the week. One day, my supervisor called me into her office and asked why I was always calling off on Thursdays. I couldn’t say it was mostly due to my anxiety, so I said school.

She said, “Okay, ‘cause I didn’t want HR to think that you had been doing somethings on Thursdays.”

“Oh, no” I stated. “It’s because of my crazy schedule, I get burned out which leads to me getting sick.” Thankfully she understood.

On other news,  guess what? I got accepted to my school’s mild to moderate credential program. Yeah! So this time I will only be taking 9 units. Never again am I taking more than I can chew! If everything works well I can get started on a paid internship next year. Yesssss! I can finally start living!!!

Though as grueling as this past semester was, I gotta say… I’m very proud of myself. To know I could break down and yet get back up, while still overcoming my mental illnesses was quite humbling and enlightening. I’m glad I sought help before I started school otherwise I wouldn’t have seen the capabilities that had long been within me shine.

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Whenever I got a chance in my busy life, I was trying draft an article. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to post it. So, if you don’t mind, I will post a few those articles.  I know they are old, but they relate my journey of mental health while pursing my education/career. You will know they are old, because I will write the date as the title.  So, I hope you will enjoy them.