What is Mindfulness & How to achieve it?

Umeni Therapy – De-stress Coloring book

Mindfulness. 
It’s a pretty straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future.Indulging in over multitasking. And that makes us anxious.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Yet no matter how far we drift away, mindfulness is right there to snap us back to where we are and what we’re doing and feeling. If you want to know what mindfulness is, it’s best to try it for a while. 

While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques, particularly seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation (it’s also possible lying down but often leads to sleep); short pauses we insert into everyday life; and merging meditation practice with other activities, such as yoga or sports or the most popular & effective method of coloring.

When we meditate it doesn’t help to fixate on the benefits, but rather to just do the practice, and yet there are benefits or no one would do it.When we begin to coloring that page filling in colors as we interpret shapes & figures in your heads, it shifts our entire focus from whatever was on our mind to just this one page!
When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being.
Mindfulness meditation/practice gives us a time in our lives when we can suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness—to ourselves and others.

Without thinking twice, I would often pick up a pen and begin to draw shapes & color them on empty pages of my notepad at work. It was only after a couple of minutes that I sort of came to realize that “this is actually really therapeutic”. This is when I made Umeni Therapy

On the face of it, sitting there coloring in the hippos, crocodiles, sky and grass would seem kind of mindless for an adult but in practice it’s really mindful.
Therefore Adult coloring is really a thing, and it’s hugely popular.

Adults from all walks of life are turning to coloring books as a form of stress release, therapy and just plain old fun. But before you dismiss this colorful craze as “not your thing”, check out what researchers are saying about the power of art to improve emotional, mental and even physical health.

10 Big Benefits of Adult Coloring

1. Relieve Stress

Researchers have discovered that coloring activities help relax the amygdala – the section of the brain that is activated in situations where you feel stressed or scared.
Simultaneously, coloring activates the parts of the brain that support creativity. A study conducted in 2005 by Nancy Curry and Tim Kasser found that those who colored in mandalas reported drastically decreased anxiety levels.
This is especially useful for those who suffer from constant anxiety or experience anxiety as a side effect of disorders like PTSD or depression.

2. Exercise the Mind

As previously mentioned, coloring sparks brain activity and activates the parts of the brain responsible for creativity and logic.
Coloring is considered a good ‘mind exercise’ because it utilizes both sides of the brain’s cerebral cortex– an important system of control as it promotes motor skills and coordination.
When you color, you utilize the logic-based part of the brain through the choice of color or pattern. When you choose to pair or blend colors, you utilize the creative part of your brain. Coloring works out both brain hemispheres, so that’s a total win-win!

3. A Creative Meditation

Tried meditating the Eat, Pray, Love way and couldn’t get to grips with silent meditation? Fortunately, that’s not the only way to get centered.
Psychologist Carl Jung believed that coloring mandalas helped patients experience many of the benefits of meditation, like inner calm and self realization.
Jung believed that the mandala pattern was a representation of the intricacy of ‘self,’ and noticed that many of his patients would doodle circle drawings.
He used the idea and the practice of coloring to promote wellness among his patients, noting that creating and coloring mandalas symbolized “a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness.”

4. Thought Swapping – Replace Patterns of Negative Thinking

Plagued by worries about your bills, your health, your family or your future? All of the above? Coloring may actually help replace patterns of negative thinking with more positive ones.
The focus that coloring necessitates makes concentrating on issues very difficult, and often when people color, their negative thought patterns abate.
The negativity is replaced with more positive thoughts when ‘colorists’ react favorably to the pairing of colors and the creative pattern.
Neuropsychologist Dr. Stan Rodski explained that coloring elicited real neurological effects, stating: “We started seeing changes in heart rate, changes in brainwaves…the most amazing things occurred.”

5. Self Soothe

Learning how to control your body’s stress activation system (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system…phew!) is a vital component of mental and physical wellness.
Those who can influence how their bodies deal with trauma are much more resilient and have higher coping mechanisms.
Learning to self soothe during a period of trauma is essential to coping, and many are finding that coloring helps combat tough experiences without getting wrapped up in the accompanying emotions.
Researchers have found that coloring works in a variety of circumstances, one being debilitating illness.
A 2006 study by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University found that coloring and other art therapy was essential to reducing stress, anxiety and fear during women’s cancer treatment periods.

6. Make New Friends , Reduce Social Anxiety

That’s right. you can color and make new friends. Coloring has become so popular that coloring chapters are forming in some neighborhood and cities where avid ‘colorists’ are taking advantage of the phenomenon.
Though coloring is traditionally seen as a singular activity, these clubs seek to promote positive social interaction between members of the community, organization or even a family. It is a great activity to indulge in with all the members of your family.
It helps people to interact meaningfully with other people without the pressure that often accompanies social gatherings or family outings.

7. Walk the Middle Road for a While

Life today is a rat race of accomplishments, stress and competitions. This may be self evident, but coloring is a pretty low-pressure activity. There is no way to win, lose or even play the game.

Having an activity that takes the ‘middle road’, that is not reliant on a time limit, a ‘correct’ answer or a competition is freeing and can be incredibly cathartic and restorative after a long day of work or stress.
 

8. Encourage Yourself to Be Present

It’s no secret that people today are distracted more than ever. With all of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the notifications that *ding!* constantly from our phones and tablets, it can be hard to focus when you really need to. Coloring to the rescue!
An art therapy student from Lesley University recently attested to the increase in coloring books in her university lectures to help students focus.
She noted that in group therapy discussions, those who have issues concentrating often do better with the aid of a coloring book, stating “we have several adult coloring books at my site to offer the clients.”

9. Build Mental Strength

We know that coloring books can help release stress in tough situations, but coloring books can also train our brains, making us more efficient, logical and mentally strong.
That’s right. Coloring can actually make you sharper and healthier. Leslie Marshall, a clinical counselor, states that coloring “opens up the frontal lobe of the brain- the home of organizing and problem solving – and focuses the mind.”
This can improve reasoning abilities as coloring gives the brain a chance to focus selectively. Additionally, psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala notes that coloring is so efficient in activating the cerebral cortex that the pastime can delay or prevent illnesses associated with aging, like dementia.

10. An Easy Way to Relax & Have Some Simple Fun

Some may view coloring as frivolous, but when is the last time you sat down and did something just for the fun of it?
Coloring can act as your designated “me-time,” and also as a way to increase self esteem.
In fact, a 2012 study showed that participants in a drawing and painting class reported 80% increased confidence and motivation. Other studies have pointed to the role of art in positive self realization and self representation, as well as increased involvement in a community.

Over the past few years, coloring has evolved from a children’s pastime to a legitimate form of therapy and meditation.
 If you want to give it a try, check out this reasonably priced adult coloring book on Amazon! 

If nothing else, your life will be a little more colorful!
Happy Coloring! 💟💟💟💟💟

How can we connect with the millennials?




Yes, we all have much to say about the millennial kids. But when we come to think of it, it is actually not their fault alone.
Those who were born in the 80s will agree with me that we had limited entertainment channels and a very focused / straight education system, yet we all lost the path sometimes but could get back on track faster because the socioeconomic growth around us wasn’t going crazy!!

But today there are 4 major problems the youngsters are facing –

1. Everything around them is changing: be it technology, things, trends, all of it. before they can get the hang of one game another is launched, to keep up with this pace they begin altering their behaviors for example not being too sure of one thing alone, getting bored too soon, etc.

2. Education is not growing at par with the technology: The education systems in India still have the same model of assessment and curriculum with minor introductions of technology here & there. In fact the 11th/12th std or MBA students are not even aware of many career trends today, so how do we expect them to be focused & dedicated. Did you have the subject back in school called “Moral science”. Do you remember anything about it?? Well I do, because it left a great positive impact on my mind, it made a huge difference in the way I treat humans, animals & plants. This is what our new age kids need.They need emotional education. They need to learn compassion, love, respect, how else will they grow up to be positive on any platform?

3. Money has changed the game: We only see spenders around us, Some spend on food, some on clothes, some on holidays & cars, and some on all. And how do we know that – Instagram/Facebook/twitter. Enticing, Inviting pictures everywhere, compelling you to spend!! to be there!! Maybe, parents are at fault somewhere but don’t you think we all as a society have a role to play here too?

4.Too much information: Yes with technology we have information on our fingertips but with that comes the risk of exposure to a lot of the bogus, distracting, demotivating information as well. And may be we haven’t prepared our kids/youngsters to handle that well, may be we have not invested enough time & efforts in establishing a strong belief system. A robust belief system that helps them differentiate right from wrong, or easy from worthy, or addictive from nourishing. May be as parents/elders/uncles/aunts we have not prepared them to handle this environment we have today. This is the reason why the cases of bullying and suicides are only going up.

 Well, as a professional and a human with 32 years of experience in life, Facing the good, bad & the ugly; I feel the need to interact, empower & enlighten the students of today. They need this. We cant stand on the sidewalk and watch the fun.
This will be my way of contributing to the society in a minuscule way.
I am daily looking for opportunities to work with students.
I have begun my journey on the subject of emotional education. 
With My book #UmeniTherapy I am reaching out to young teens & adults encouraging them to use art as a strong form of de-stressing, mindfulness and creative thinking. I feel as parents or elders we need to encourage people to experience & explore the joy of simple things.
Inspired by the book, I conduct art workshops with teens & adults, just like an additional fun activity, we all get together at a suitable venue and help each other to unleash our creativity on the canvas.

Apart from this guest lectures in Colleges and schools are on my list of things I am already doing. I speak on generic motivational topics to specific to my industry as well. If you are associated to any such educational institute, wherein I could step in as guest speaker, feel free to contact me.The link to one of my talks is here.

This is my way of getting out of the complaining zone of “what is happening to the world?” to “Let’s do something to make the world a better place!” Because Each time I interact with students, I come home learning a thing or two about my own self as well.

My suggestion to you is come participate with me, Join in or do your own bit to help our country’s young students, to find a path. You can help by sharing your work expertise online or offline, talk to the kids around you , Hire them as interns in your company or any other ways you can thing of. What ever it may be just try & work with them and start including them in your societies.