Good news! Coloring is a dang good de-stressing tool for adults. Time to get some colored pencils and get to work!
Psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala says that the benefits of coloring lie between focusing our attention on fine motor movements and on the logic of color-matching. So while it’s a great distraction from stressors, it’s also a novel and challenging physical and mental activity — like meditation, but brighter. Jüng was using coloring as a therapeutic activity a hundred years ago. Keep reading »
The University of Wisconsin Madison Police Department posted an article this week about safety tips on campus and, of course, people are manufacturing reasons to get mad about it.
I really do mean manufacturing. These are really simple and effective safety tips that are not aimed specifically at women or the issue of campus rape. The only offensive thing about the article was the original title, “Shedding the Victim Persona: Staying Safe On Campus.” Once it was brought to the UWPD’s attention that “victim persona” unduly puts blame on victims for the crimes committed against them, they changed the title (albeit not the URL) to “Tools You Can Use: Staying Safe On Campus.” Voilà. They did their part to correct bad language. When contacted about the article, they stood by it as useful information for everyone. Keep reading »
Oh thank goodness, someone finally says that mindfulness practice isn’t for everyone. Neuroscientist Catherine Kerr studies the effects of mindfulness practice on the brain, and is a practitioner herself, but denies that it is the emotional and scientific wonderdrug it’s been made out to be.
Kerr was an author on a 2005 paper that claimed, tentatively, that mindfulness meditation — basically, focusing one’s attention on the feelings, sensations and emotions in the present moment — increases the thickness of the cerebral cortex, which many news outlets jumped on as proof that meditation is absolutely an effective treatment for stress and depression for everyone. Kerr is much more reserved: There’s evidence that meditation is beneficial to brain function, but not enough to paint it in the unfalteringly positive light that some have done. Keep reading »
One of the focuses (focii?) of Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project is figuring out how to break bad habits and moderate indulgences. Yesterday on the project’s blog, she talked about two different ways to manage temptations: Abstaining and moderating.
She describes author Delia Ephron as a “Moderator”: When she goes to bakeries, for example, she can take a few bites of whatever she buys, get bored with it, and throw the rest away (Ephron’s husband has named this “Discardia”). Moderators can indulge a little bit at a time, but they panic if they’re told that they absolutely can’t have something. Rubin describes herself, on the other hand, as an Abstainer: Abstainers have a hard time stopping once they’ve started, but find it easy to just totally cut themselves off from something, too. Keep reading »