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Creative Coping tool for Managing Stress

Who doesn’t go through overwhelming emotions? Even the most optimistic people can have their low days. Here is a simple and creative way to manage our anxiety, calm our racing mind and bring it back to a more quieter space.

A growing number of studies show that practicing breathing techniques have a positive impact on our body and mind. "A study in the Journal of Neurophysiology may support this, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention, and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to breathing." (Source 1) When we are stressed our sympathetic nervous system is elevated which leads to fast paced breathing or breathlessness, panic attack or irritability. Deep breathing triggers our parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for our body's rest and digest activities. Thus helping us to calm down.

Studies indicate that making art in any form helps to reduce cortisol levels, the stress hormone. An easy way to start drawing is doodling or making repetitive patterns.

Here, I have combined box breathing technique with doodling repetitive patterns to help create few moments of peace and tranquility. It is a creative tool that can be practised either when you are stressed at work or going through a rough phase or it can be included in your daily self-care routine in the morning or before going to bed.

Materials needed:

  • Blank sheet of paper.

  • Pencil

  • Black pen

  • Color pens

How to do it?

  • Sit in a comfortable space. Take few deep breaths.

  • Draw a square in centre of your paper.

  • Follow the 4 seconds box breathing technique.

  • Start at the top left of the square. Trace your line downwards , while you take a deep breath in. Hold your breath for four seconds as you trace the bottom side. Breathe out as you slide up the other side. Hold your breath for four seconds, as you trace the up the side of the square.

  • Repeat this tracing of box and aligning with your breath couple of times.

  • Now take a moment to reflect and think of a word that represents something that you need the most at this point of time.

  • Write it down in centre of the square.

  • Take a pencil and divide the outside space of the box into smaller sections using wavy / straight lines.

  • Fill each section with patterns using different colors. You may choose the same pattern for all the sections or fill up the sections with different patterns.

  • As you are draw the patterns, focus on movement of your hand, texture of the paper, feel of the pen you are holding, the brightness of the colors.

  • When you find your thoughts wandering, gently bring it back to the intention word that you have written in the centre of the box.

  • Fill all the sections, let it flow and focus on the process.


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