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Reduce stress with this little art activity

I’m starting this post off with a warning. I’m going to ask you to get out some colored pencils, a paint brush, or a sketchbook. If this makes you squirm in your seat, run now. I have a friend of mine who laughs because I often try to turn everything into an art project. So here I am…doing it again. This post will be short and sweet. Basically, I’m going to be copying much of what I mentioned in the last post and will just be changing it to make it slightly more artistic. But truth be told, I’m no “artist” in the way many people consider one to be an artist. No one would buy anything I create and I don’t wear tie-dye. Yet, I’ve found that doodling helps me calm my monkey brain. So my goal is to pass along how I’ve altered the steps in the freeze frame activity from last post to make it work for me.

If you missed the last post, here are the steps. The only change is I’m adjusting one of the steps:

1) Write the situation. Find a stressful situation in your life and write out the key points.

2) Write down your HEAD REACTION. For this part, you will write down anything flying through your head or what emotions continue to surface. Usually they are emotions like fear, worry, anxiety, impatience. They might even be thoughts like “I can’t do this, I’m not good enough, life sucks…”

3) FREEZE FRAME. ***I’m changing “how” of this step! This is where your goal is to feel a new feeling. Shift your attention. Try to picture a fun trip, a memory that makes you shine as you re-live it, a sense of care for anyone in your life, appreciation, or gratitude. Listen up- DO NOT, I mean DO NOT try to force it. You can’t fake out your heart. It needs to be heartfelt. This is where you can’t “fake it til you make it.” Choose something that truly shifts your emotional state. Stay in this stage until you feel an internal shift. ***Here is the change. I want you to draw, paint, use a color that helps you take yourself into the new emotion or back to the experience you want to relive. I’m going to include my doodle from a last week that helped me shift my attention and slow down my thoughts. This isn’t about creating a work of art, so PLEASE cut yourself a break and have some fun with it.

Caption: Take a step into my journal! This is a doodle of an afternoon trip my daughter Marley and I took to a close by nature preserve. As I doodled, I focused on the joy, peace, and love I experienced for her. I felt a deep sense of gratitude to be in such a beautiful place with my little girl, enjoying a graham cracker picnic!

4) Ask your heart how to proceed. This is where you will write down your HEART REACTION. Ask your intuition or deep internal self what would be a more helpful way to see the situation and proceed. You might hear a “still small voice” inside, or you may just get a physical sensation. As you’re starting out in this activity this part may be tricky because you may or may not have a previous relationship with your heart. And if you’re saying, “relationship with my heart? WHAT THE…” then you may just have a little further to ease into this activity :) Just notice when you place your attention in the area of your chest and see what comes up. If your answer from this area of your body is calm, peaceful, logical, accepting, marked with clarity then you’re onto something. When you’re looking for a heart response and you are familiar with the Christian passage (Gal 5:22-23) we are talking about things similar to the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

There you have it. That, my friends, is how you add a dash of color to the FREEZE FRAME process. Get some color on a piece of paper and melt away your stress! Happy rooting, everyone!

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