I am a stress freak. Maybe some of you can identify with that statement. You know, when you get so wound up your brain is like a ball of christmas lights. I know this is harmful to my health in all levels so I try to do things in order to calm down. It’s not easy, it is a constant exercise for me. Not an hour goes by that I am not trying to keep myself on check. I work out, I read, I do short meditations and I recite mantras (not all at once). Yet I find myself on the verge of a nervous breakdown almost every month, and not necessarily around my period :).
For me the problem is greatly influenced by visual experiences. I am an artist at heart. So it is not unusual for me to try to find or create beautiful things. Also since my brain is in such chaotic state often, I need my surroundings to be orderly. Well, I have a 10 month old, a 3-year-old, 2 Chihuahuas and a hubby. So let’s just say my home isn’t as orderly as I would like most the time. You stay home parents probably feel my pain :), but living in messy environments is not exclusive to parent hood. Since I can’t spend all day tidying up; what is a girl to do?!
Recently I came across a style of “doodling” called zentangle. It’s a meditation done by pattern-drawing. According to the creators, “the Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well-being.” Simply put it’s a structured way of doodling that helps you unwind by keeping your focus on the task at hand (creating an image through pattern repetition). You don’t have to be an artist to try it and you don’t need too many tools. It is actually a lot of fun and most importantly, it works! I am new to the technique but I assure you it is not as complicated as it might look.
Here are some of my “zentangles”
Basically you need a pencil, a pen and a piece of paper. Here are the basic steps…
Draw one dot in each corner of a 4×4 piece of paper
Connect the dots to create a frame
Draw a pencil guide-line that divides the frame into sections
Using a black pen draw the “tangles”
One of the things I love the most about this is that there are no corrections. No erasers used at all. There are no mistakes! What might feel like an error is just an opportunity to make something else. You never know what you are going to end up with. And having the guidelines just makes it feel like you have no responsibilities for the outcome of this wonderful doodle. I swear it’s kind of addictive, in a good way.
There are a bunch of “how to” on you tube or you can get most the information you need at zentangle.com I am currently using the book Yoga for your Brain its got easy to follow instructions and it teaches you step by step how to make some simple “tangles”.
So if you suffer from chronic stress, like me, I highly recommend the Zentangle Workout :). Remember if you are one of those people who doesn’t have time to meditate once a day you should meditate twice a day! Good luck!