31 Aug Can watching someone else create be calming?
You have probably seen this calming video on the Relax and Create Today Facebook page. You may wonder why it is there, since it isn’t my design or me coloring. I found it when looking for something else completely, but found myself mesmerized by it, and hoped you would find it calming too. Even though I am not remotely involved in the coloring, I feel calmer for simply stopping and watching the hand doing the coloring.
As I learn more about what it takes to be mindful and aware of the moment, the clearer it is becoming that what I began as an essentially art therapy/gently psychological investigation of why being creative is calming and relaxing, is taking a turn towards the esoteric – more woo woo, if you prefer! This shift in emphasis may deter some, but hopefully will help even more people. In a hectic world where being too busy is rewarded, and in order to relax we drink wine, eat chocolate or binge watch Netflix, I hope to provide a less destructive path to calming down sufficiently to have the energy to deal with whatever it is we work to avoid.
Calming and Creating
The feeling of being calm, safe, and content is so liberating, yet so hard to achieve when we are feeling stressed. I often feel as though there are simply too many competing thoughts in my head that I simply can’t work out which I need to deal with first. I’ve tried writing it out – but invariably end up with a ‘to do’ list that is so overwhelming that it sinks to the bottom of the papers on my desk, never to be seen again. I’ve also drunk wine to defer the mental noise, but with a family history of alcoholism was always afraid that path could be a dangerous one. I’ve self-medicated with food (and have the excess weight to prove it) and binge watched mindless hours of television – but none of these strategies have brought more than a temporary escape from the feelings of being overwhelmed.
So what does work for calming the noise and anxiety? For me, it is getting my hands busy. In ways that I don’t understand, occupying whatever part of my brain it is that has to keep track of the stitch pattern when I knit or the consistency of font size when I design, frees up a more useful part of my brain to think clearly and without interruption. With my hands and monkey mind safely occupied, I can start to toss around ideas that could solve the problem that is stressing me. I can’t deliberately do that, it is just what happens through the calming process of creating. I suspect something similar happens when I watch the video as well. I wonder which space will be colored next, why she is using that particular pattern of colors – and in doing so it occupies my monkey brain. Being such a short video it doesn’t get me to the place where I can really think, but it does offer a brief respite from whatever is worrying me in the moment.
So, can watching someone else create be calming? Or is it just another way to avoid stress, do you think?