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Scientists cannot explain why every person on the planet yawns—in most cases, several times a day. Even babies in the womb do it. So do hedgehogs, ostriches, snakes, and fish. There are lots of theories, often contradictory, but none satisfy all the researchers. Many scientists have proposed that an explanation for this gulp of air, lasting six seconds on average, is to augment the brain’s oxygen supply. Yet “so far, researchers haven’t found evidence supporting this suspicion,” says Science News. New studies on rats seem to suggest that “a yawn may be a thermostat, cooling an overheated brain.” But no one really knows.
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While art therapy is its own field, you can use the benefits of art to express your creative side and drawing skills to reduce stress and get in touch with your feelings. I think most of us knew this instinctively as kids: virtually all of us know the joys of sculpting something (with play-dough), painting something (with fingers), or drawing (with crayons and other materials). However, other than making random doodles in the margins of a page while you’re on killing time, if you’re like most adults, you don’t express yourself with art like you did as a kid.
Benefits of Art:
One of the reasons that clinical art therapy is effective is that the act of drawing and creating art can help you relieve stress in several ways. Here are some ways that creating art can alleviate stress:
Distraction: Drawing and art can take your mind off of what’s stressing you, at least for a few minutes. And when you’re finished being engrossed in your sketches, you should have a clearer head with which to tackle your problems again.
Flow: There’s a certain quality of being called “flow”, that experts say is very beneficial for us. This refers to a state of being completely engaged in something to the point of being in a near meditative state. It carries many of the benefits of meditation, leaving you much less stressed when you’re done. You can experience ‘flow’ when you’re doing creative activities like writing, and even gardening. You can also get it from drawing.
Self Care: Just the act of having a hobby can make you feel more balanced in your lifestyle. Sometimes with all of life’s responsibilities, we forget that we need and deserve ‘down time’ and self care. Taking even a few minutes on a regular basis to devote to a hobby can give you more of what you need in this area. And, with drawing, you have the additional benefit of being left with something beautiful (or at least interesting) to show for it!
Do-It-Yourself Art Therapy for Stress Relief
One of my favorite ways to use drawing for stress relief is to maintain a sketch diary. Keeping a sketchbook can be a form of journaling, and it can be cathartic, creative, and stress relieving. You can use a journal for personal art therapy and stress management in the following ways:
Sketch pictures that describe your feelings related to things in your life that are causing you stress currently. If it’s in the back of your mind anyway, this could be a way of processing your related emotions, reducing some of the stress they carry.
Sketch abstract pictures that express feelings related to past stressful experiences, as a way of processing your emotions and healing.
Keep a ‘Dream Sketch Diary’, and sketch scenes from dreams you’d like to remember or better understand.
Keep a sketch diary of what you think is beautiful in life. Draw the faces of those you love, places that bring you peace, or other pieces of beauty. The process of sketching can be a great stress reliever, and revisiting your creations can also bring you some peace in the future.
Additional Art Resources:
If you’re interested in trying out or develop a new hobby, there’s a great tutorial devoted to painting using watercolour as a medium, for people of all levels, including beginners. Check this out http://bit.ly/1jSe3zf for more details.
Thanks to Douglas Mitchell for this article.
A couple went on their honeymoon to a cottage in a peaceful and lovely mountain setting. Unfortunately, the peaceful atmosphere was upset by an annoying woodpecker, which kept pecking away on the roof of the cottage.
The young groom tried a number of times to chase the woodpecker away, but he kept coming back. The young couple decided to make the most of the situation and they named the bird, "Woody Woodpecker."
It just so happened that the young groom was a cartoonist and he decided to create a cartoon series about "Woody Woodpecker." The young man pitched the idea to a couple of Hollywood movie studios and met with rejection, and finally acceptance.
This young man, by the name of Walter Lantz, worked hard on creating the cartoon character named after that pesky woodpecker. For over sixty years, that loveable character entertained millions of people who have watched the star of his own cartoon series.
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How often does an annoyance in our lives turn into an opportunity for us? How often do we chase away the annoyances without stopping to really look at them? Is it possible that there are "Woody Woodpeckers" that present themselves to us, ready to be used to bring riches, enjoyments and pleasure to our self and others?
How would we identify one of those opportunities that presents itself to us? To answer that question, we can look to many of the products and services that we use and enjoy that arose out of some lack or annoyance in our lives. What about books that have been written by people who are attempting to heal some aspect of them self, and by writing about it have helped millions of others.
When faced with a recurring irritation in your life, take a moment to reflect upon how you might use this situation to your advantage. Name it, claim it, and use it to the benefit of yourself and others.
It is not what happens to us that is important. It is what we do with each situation in our life that matters.
Affirmation for the Week:
"I remain vigilant to opportunities, which come to me disguised as irritations. I tame each situation and make good use of it."
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RUSTAM, who lives in Russia, leads a busy life. In the past, he had some unhealthful habits but came to realize that he was paying a price for them. He stopped smoking and overindulging in alcohol. Still, long days in front of his computer left him feeling lethargic.
Although Rustam started work at eight o’clock in the morning, he rarely felt fully awake until ten, and he was often sick. So he made an adjustment to his routine. The result? “In the last seven years, I haven’t taken more than two sick days a year,” he reports. “I feel great—awake and alert—and I enjoy life!”
Ram, his wife, and their two small children live in Nepal. Sanitation is lacking in their neighborhood, and the area swarms with mosquitoes and flies. In the past, Ram and his family frequently suffered from respiratory problems as well as eye infections. They too made changes that greatly improved their health.
Take Control of Your Health! Whether they are rich or poor, many people fail to see the link between their habits and their health. They may regard enjoying good health as a matter of chance or as something over which they have little control. Such a fatalistic view holds many back from improving their health and leading a more productive life.
In reality, whatever your financial circumstances, there are basic steps you can take to protect and greatly improve your own health and that of your family. Is doing so worth the effort? By all means! You can increase the quality of your life and avoid needlessly shortening it.
By word and example, parents can teach their children to form good habits, resulting in better health. The extra time and expense involved will be repaid in reduced suffering, less time lost to illness, and less money spent on medical bills. As the saying goes, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Thanks to Annelli Monk who shared this article.
Research indicates that “city dwellers respond more violently to stress than do people from small towns,” says the Polish magazine Przekrój. “Cities are places of exposure to an excessive number of stimuli,” explains psychotherapist Mieczysław Jaskulski of Warsaw’s Psychoeducation Laboratory. “For city dwellers, the risk of anxiety attacks is 21 percent higher than for those living in the countryside, and for mood disorders, 39 percent higher.” How can city dwellers cope? “Do not get upset about things that are beyond your control,” “leave work at work,” “go out for a walk,” and “do not be afraid to take a vacation,” suggests Przekrój.
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Articles are prepared by the OSI community whose topic and background range from fields of psychology, education, and science.
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