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Tangle Through It: Finding Some Calm in the Chaos

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Mindfullness & Zentangle


Life is messy (we all agree) and at times that takes a toll on our mental well-being. I’ve noticed our Truly Tangled Facebook group posting and dialoging about Zentangle as a tool to navigate depression*. Let’s take a closer look at this marriage of art combined with mindfulness, as a therapy for low mood or sadness.


Mindfulness isn't just some trendy, kumbaya fad. Studies show it's a superhero against depression, reducing stress and boosting overall happiness. It's not about complicated meditation rituals. It's a simple emphasis on bringing your thoughts into the now, putting a temporary halt to the thoughts that love to mess with your head—past mistakes, future fears, anxiety— you know the ones.

Zentangle & Mindfulness image

When you practice finding that ‘present’ state of mind, you practice taking a step away from weighty thoughts and damaging thought cycles. Rumination on negative thoughts is linked to depression. There's no pressure on the magnitude or duration of your step; think of it as merely flexing a mental muscle.


Now, imagine putting pen to paper as another way of finding that present-moment headspace; an art therapy or a creative outlet. With the Zentangle Method(R) , you keep your mindful focus on drawing simple step-by-step patterns, finding a flow in repetition, and ultimately drawing something unexpected and unplanned (if you are of a certain age, think Spirograph). Many would say it’s quite a surprising and captivating creative journey. But more, the Zentangle steps also place heavy emphasis on gratitude. Studies show that practicing gratitude is still another way to flip our mood switch. Gratitude thoughts result in a boost of your serotonin and dopamine levels (a happy chemical cocktail 🍸🧠) and provide a positive feedback loop, making it more likely you’ll take notice and appreciate good things.


So, there you have it—a peek into the world of how mindfulness and Zentangle can be a therapy for depression. Not a cure, but a sidekick for your mental health plan and for your holiday survival kit. Thanks for sticking with me to the end! Keep the conversation flowing and share your thoughts below.


Hungry for more insights? 👀Watch 🎥 this TedxTalk by Zindel Segal on getting well and staying well. Zindel Segal is a psychologist, specialist in depression and a pioneer in the use of mindfulness as a therapy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A4w3W94ygA
Want to get a daily dose of mindfulness to your inbox? Click this link to subscribe to The Daily Bell, for mindful tips and tidbits from Padraig O'Morain.
Mind-soothing glitter jar: When you find yourself experiencing discomforting thoughts, give yourself this 38 seconds of self-care and compassion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHpwzNyBpAw

 

*I am not a medical professional and this information is not medical advice. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, consult a qualified healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Mindfulness and Zentangle are therapeutic practices that can be part of a mental health plan, but they are not standalone treatments. Always seek advice from a qualified healthcare provider regarding any serious feelings of depression or hopelessness.

 









Julie Isaac,

Therapeutic Use of Mindfulness, IICP College

Maryland Advanced Professional Teaching Certification, MSDE


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