Let’s Reduce Some Stress

Do you know if you are stressed, frustrated, tired all the time or just ready for some type of change in your life?Do you often find your jaw or even teeth hurting because your grind your teeth?  Are you often rubbing your shoulders because they feel so tight?  Do you know if you are overstressed, frustrated, tired all the time or just ready for some type of change in your life?

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If you can answer No, I am really envious of you.  Being a cancer survivor, I had determined to do my best to not allow stress or even just being “unhappy” in my life to a minimum.  I have had two separate things happen recently that I would like to share. 

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Stress and Health

The first is of a personal nature.  When I was growing up I remember my dad would go to visit his mom at a hospital.  I remember a few of the visits and then I remember that dad would go to visit his mom and all four of us would stay and play in the park with my mom.  I did not understand Dementia or Alzheimer’s then, I just wanted to go with my dad and visit my grandma.  Of course now I understand that we did not go for her sake, his, and our own as well. 

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Over the past two years my father has shown more and more of the exact same symptoms until now he does not remember simple things.  On a recent visit to my parent’s house, he asked if I remembered the way to the house.  Mom had told me when we arrived that he was really concerned that I might have forgotten how to get there.  (I have lived in NC, 20 minutes from my parents, for the past 27 years.)

Now of course, seeing a second generation having the same disease started me investigating and learning all I could.  More on that later. 

Stress and Customer Service

When I was in training for customer service with a coffee company, one of the things that I learned was that we have at least 45 seconds between calls, allowing us to “wrap up the call”.  What this means when we are busy is that we have that 45 seconds to put in notes, code the call, close the account and be ready to answer the next call.  I also learned that there are times that we have up to 5 minutes between calls. 

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When I first heard that, my mind started racing.  That is not enough time to really do anything I like to do.  I could get on social media, but I would not like being interrupted if I was commenting on a post or replying to a friend.  (That could be a mite bit irritating and I would not want that to come across to the customer on the line)  Of course it is not the time to write my blog or create posts on social media.  Scheduling posts were, of course, out of the question.  I thought of reading a book, but again, I like thrillers and mysteries and would hate hearing that beep in my ear telling me a call was coming in.  (I do not even like my husband to talk when I am reading and he is the same way with me)

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Someone asked one of the subject matter experts the next day what he does between calls.  (Now bear in mind, this is after we have read all the updates and know all the latest news about the company, any system issues and any new ways to resolve problems, reading our email, and so much more)  His comment was that he colors.  I was so surprised. 

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Investigating Stress and Alzheimer’s

In my search to learn more about what supplements, what skills, and so on I was surprised to learn that Adult coloring books are being marketed as a form of Therapy, a way to focus our brains, relieve stress, and help us unwind)

According to CNN: Despite the fact that coloring and art therapy aren’t quite the same thing, coloring does offer a slew of mental benefits. “Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring [about] more mindfulness,” says Berberian. Groundbreaking research in 2005 proved anxiety levels dropped when subjects colored mandalas, which are round frames with geometric patterns inside. Simply doodling, though, had no effect in reducing the other subjects’ stress levels.

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For me, it gives me “something to do with my hands while I watch Netflix.” Other activities in this niche include: knitting, painting my nails, texting, putting candy in my mouth. End of list.

Why do I need to do two things at once? Why can’t I just sit quietly and enjoy a TV show? In part, it’s because I feel a little less lazy if I’m making something while I wile away the hours with Friday Night Lights. But also, I’m watching TV in the first place to relax, to quiet my mind, and often my mind is loud enough that it shouts over Coach Taylor. I really do think that a lifetime of multitasking has left me occasionally incapable of subduing the entirety of my mind with one activity. If the front of my mind is occupied by the show, and the back is focused on picking colors and staying in the lines, there’s not room for much else. It’s a sort of mindfulness that’s more like mindfulness.

Coloring offers that relief and mindfulness without the paralysis that a blank page can cause. It’s easier in the way that ordering from a restaurant with a small menu is easier than deciding what you want at Denny’s, where you could eat almost anything. This is the paradox of choice, and it’s been well-studied—too many options is overwhelming. But with coloring, you know what you’re working with. You just choose how to fill it in. I think this is why coloring as a soothing activity feels so similar to painting my nails. I can get intricate with my tiny nail art brushes, but I still have a limited canvas, maybe a square centimeter or so, and I have the colors of polish that I have.

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There’s something satisfying about seeing your thought and effort create a tangible, pretty thing at a reasonable, predictable pace. This rarely happens in life.

Getting Started

Books can range from Free pages and Crayola or you could start with very simple ones that are not as intricate 

There is an app for this (of course) on iTunes  and do not think the android market was left out. 

There are adult coloring books at craft stores such as Michaels  and Hobby Lobby

Dover publications  and of course Amazon

According to ColoringBooks.net, adults should skip the crayons and go straight for the colored pencils (precision is everything when it comes to tuning in).  I started with a large(46)  box of Crayola pencils and then moved to  Prismacolor

Some folks love markers or even gel pens.

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If the paper you are using is of a higher cardstock, you can get watercolor pencils.  You can color just a very small portion of the area you want to color, get a brush and by adding water, pull the color to different areas.  One of the nice features of this is the beautiful shading it produces.

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One of the hobbies I love to do is create cards for folks, every card I send out is handmade.  I found coloring books on HSN  (I love the Anna Griffin books)that have a high quality cardstock allowing me to watercolor if I want and most importantly I am able to use the finished products for my card making.  Besides the relaxation it provides, I am creating one of a kind backgrounds for those cards.

We all need help unplugging and unwinding.  I appreciate any product that help me do this.  I am enjoying plugging into my creative side and then using those products for my hobby. 

Are you ready to unplug, relax and unwind? Try it out today and let me know what you think. 

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If you think this will help you, I would love for you to leave me a comment and share on Facebook.

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