Quick and Easy Stress Relief

Tired? Grumpy? Feeling strung out?

 My current coloring project

My current coloring project

Need something easy to do that will take the edge off and bring you some peace and quiet? The latest mind-body practice is coloring – yes, just like your kids with their markers or crayons. Who knew that something this simple would be great for improving your energy and stress level?

When you color, or do other mind-body practices like meditating, it puts your brain into “the zone” which brings down the stress hormone cortisol. The technical term for getting into “the zone” is the relaxation response.

We can thank Herbert Benson MD for making the power of the mind a respected part of medical research and treatment. Prolonged periods of stress and elevated cortisol can lead to many health problems, not to mention making you feel grouchy and tired.

An important and often over-looked aspect of managing chronic diseases, especially chronic pain, is engaging our mind’s role in healing. Simply fostering the belief that you and your thoughts are the foundation of healing can lead to great improvements in health and well-being.

What can you do to engage the relaxation response in your daily life?

  1. Visit this page, Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response, to learn how to relax.
  2. Incorporate a daily activity such as meditation, deep breathing, coloring, yoga, or other calming practice to help manage stress and anxiety. Pick something you enjoy doing.
  3. Be patient with yourself as you develop a new habit. Give yourself at least 3 weeks to see noticeable improvements and commit to doing your chosen activity most days of the week.

Managing stress better = better cortisol regulation = many health benefits:

  • Better Sleep
  • Better blood sugar and weight management
  • Better skin
  • Better moods
  • Better blood pressure
  • Reduced pain

If you’re doing back to school shopping for your kids, pick up a box of new markers for yourself and a coloring book. Your homework is to spend 20 minutes tonight coloring. Find a free download to color here.