Light in my Shadow

Relax and Reduce Stress with Mindful Drawing

Mindful drawing has become my solid, stable anchor. It taught me to relax and reduce stress, simply by sitting down and engaging in something that switches my constant thought-stream OFF.
It plugs me right into present moment.
Mindful drawing is a practice you do slowly. You set the pace, and your brain entrains with this slower pace, which gives you a break from ‘busy’ and helps you to relax and reduces stress.
When I’m having a hectic day, I crave to sit my butt down and slip into the flow of zen. Because at this stage in my practice, my body and nervous system recognises it.
As soon as I sit down, I plug right into the state I have trained myself to connect with.

And because I learned the hard way, these days I do it.

My ‘hard way’, wasn’t fun. I pushed my stress-levels into the red zone. And I didn’t stop there. I kept pushing it dangerously all the way into a mental breakdown.

Prior to my rock bottom, I had serious addiction issues going on. I had a mountain of very heavy problems I’d created from my addictions. I had unprocessed grief from my dad’s suicide ticking like a time bomb.

My shit heated up so incrementally, I had no idea I was cooking myself. I was literally the frog in boiling water. One day you wake up and you’re in the danger zone.

During this time, I’d gradually rewired my brain into a high-stress, high beta brainwave state – I got stuck in fight or flight and I couldn’t switch it off.

Rock bottom became one of the worst times in my life (and I’ve been around!), but after two years it became the biggest gift – because it led me to mindful drawing, which led me here.

Why it's so important to relax and reduce stress.

Stress in short, infrequent bursts, isn’t detrimental. It’s normal. Just like panic response, or fight and flight, it can be useful to get something done FAST in an urgent situation. It could even save your life.
It’s when you can’t switch it off it becomes a problem.
Many of us are looking for ways to reduce stress because it sucks. These days it’s become ‘normal’ to be wired into busy. We’re plugged into our devices all the time. Often we’re doing too much and we can’t just be. Stress is also very common – around one third of people in the USA experience severe stress. It may seem like it isn’t that terrible, but it is – stress is a killer.
Stress is linked to several leading causes of death, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, accidental injury, respiratory diseases, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. It’s also a trigger for addiction, violence and anger.
Stress interferes with your ability to get a good night’s sleep. It affects your productivity and your relationships with others.
And in our fast-paced society, stress isn’t going to just ‘go away’. It’s up to you to manage it. You need to identify what’s causing it, then negate or minimise its impacts.
If you don’t find ways to relax and reduce stress, it will rob you of your quality of life – and life is too short and too beautiful to give that away.

How mindful drawing helps to relax and reduce stress.

Teaching myself to mindfully draw, gradually helped me to reduce stress by rewiring my mind to slow down.
It taught me new ways of dealing with stress.
Mindful drawing activates a high level of self-awareness, where you can see the precursors of stress and you avoid it. When stress sneaks in, you observe the amber lights flashing, and using boundaries and willpower you pull back and slow down.
At its core, mindful drawing teaches you manage stress because it increases your level of self-care.
And the ripple affect is powerful. When you relax and reduce stress, it affects your mental health your physical health, your relationships and the quality of your work. It affects everything.

By learning to look after yourself and reduce stress, you're taking the quality of your life back into your hands.

Taking time for any regular hobby or practice that slows you down, will help reduce stress and invoke relaxation.
There are a heap of things you can do to reduce stress, such as any kind of meditation or mindful practice. Switching devices OFF for a few hours a week.

Perhaps you prefer painting, gardening, breath work, yoga, tai chi, drinking tea consciously in your garden listening to the birds and consciously breathing slow. Maybe it’s having a bubble bath once a week, or reading before bed.
One of my favourite activities to relax and reduce stress is mindfully walking in nature.
You’ve got the power to create new habits that will enhance your quality of life and help you look after the health of your body, mind and soul.
Mindful drawing is just one of many activities that can help you slow down, relax and reduce stress. I can show how you to practice it here.
relax and reduce stress