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All in "practice"

Start a Coloring Practice in 3 Steps

Coloring is an inexpensive, easy, and fun way to de-stress and unwind.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or under the weather, coloring can make you feel better. It can clear your mind of clutter and make you feel calmer and more in control.

You may feel a bit silly, confused, or even a little embarrassed to begin coloring as an adult; but, hey, coloring is an “in” thing among adults and even if the adult coloring book industry has dipped in sales, it still is a major player and won’t disappear anytime soon. Perhaps, not ever.

Getting started may be the hardest part if you’re a beginner but once you realize just how peaceful and calming coloring is, it may be hard for you to stop.

3 Steps to Start Your Coloring Practice

Here are three simple steps to start coloring:

1) Get a Few Coloring Supplies

You don’t need any fancy supplies to start coloring. In fact, you don’t need much of anything to color.

To start with, get a blank sheet of paper, a pen or pencil, draw your design or image, and add colors from crayons or pens you already have.

I bought my coloring supplies from a local art store when I started coloring. They were quite expensive but since my adrenaline was high for coloring, I didn’t mind.

You don’t have to take that route. There are many inexpensive and reasonable options, as follows:

First, if you already have a personal collection, use it. Look around. You may not have realized it but what you’re looking for may just be right under your nose.

Second, if you’re a mom like me, scour your kid’s supply box or bags for crayons, markers, coloring pens, or paints. I have three kids and over the years, we have accumulated a bunch of coloring pens, markers, pencils, pastels, and paints. We have already discarded a whole lot but still have more.

Third, hunt for used coloring supplies at your local thrift shops.  They would be in used condition but not completely tattered. In one of my trips to Value Village, I found a set of Grumbacher Deluxe Opaque Watercolors at $7.99 Cdn. A brand new set sells at $49 Cdn or $35.99 US. It was a great find.

Fourth, go to your dollar store. There are lots there.

There’s no stopping you from buying fancy coloring supplies. However, if you’re just starting out or simply testing the waters, go for used, discounted or inexpensive ones. You can then go premium as you progress in your coloring practice. You save a handsome lot that way.

2) Get Yourself a Coloring Book

Finding an adult coloring book these days is easy. If leaving the house is an ordeal, shopping online is a convenient way to go. Shop around town and find one at your bookstores, shops, department stores, or grocery. You may even find one at your local thrift shop as I did. Have a look at what I found in one of my treasure hunts. 

3) Sit Down and Start

Find a comfortable spot where you can do your coloring. Sit down and color.

Keep in mind that:

  • You are alone with yourself (except when in a coloring community).
  • No one can judge you nor tell you what to do.
  • There is no rule to follow – not even rules in color combination – except yours.
  • You don’t have to be perfect in anything – strokes, colors, time, musings, emotions, outputs.
  • You are accountable to no one.
  • You need not show your artwork to anyone if you feel uncomfortable doing so.
  • Your process is your own.

Know that there is no right or wrong way with coloring. You do as you please with what goes on while coloring. What you get out of it is a personal thing.

Why don’t you try it, if you haven’t yet? See how it goes, how it feels, and how it works.

If you are already into it, please let us in on your experience:  How did you get started? What steps did you follow? How did it go?

Thanks for dropping by!

Daily Gratitude Practice: 9 Easy Ways to Nurture Thankfulness

Daily Gratitude Practice: 9 Easy Ways to Nurture Thankfulness

We are all familiar with more ways than one on how to practice gratitude; however, we either forget to do so, find it uncomfortable, icky or cheesy, or simply take it for granted.

If that sounds like you, why not start small and let the habit grow into you.

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. ~Eric Hoffer

You never know what wonders it would do, to you and others.

How Can You Practice Gratitude in Your Daily Life?

Consider these practical ways to express and show thankfulness where it is due, and reap your rewards of positive aura from feeling joyful, peaceful, contented and forward-looking.

#1 – Write a “Thank You” Letter or Note

There is probably someone in your life right now that you need to thank. It is best that you take time to send them a handwritten letter of thanks. This adds more meaning, especially at this time when reaching out to people is as easy as pushing a virtual button. The time that you take to express your feelings by writing them down means more lasting rewards than using electronic media.

However, if this feels like an ordeal, go ahead and send a “thank you” post-it-note, text message, email, private message at Facebook (via Messenger), or whatever means that doesn’t intimidate or scare you from expressing thanks.

#2 – Create a Gratitude Calendar

On your gratitude calendar, write down 3, 5 or 10 things you are grateful for each day. Identify people who have touched or moved you in some way. After writing them in your calendar, read them out loud. Keep this calendar where you can see it constantly.

#3 – Keep a Gratitude Journal

Instead of just jotting down on a gratitude calendar, take it further with a journal where each day you express your thankfulness with just a list, detailed expression, or art. Learn how you can cultivate thankfulness through a gratitude journal HERE.   

#4 – Say It Out Loud

Each day, say “I’m grateful for you” to important objects, events and people in your life. Saying thank you to objects like your purse, comb, mirror, notebook, pen, or dress may sound weird or silly. But try it anyway. You’ll be amazed at how much energy it gives you to thank things that serve their purpose 24 hours a day with not a smirk, grunt, cursing or complaining.

#5 – Practice “One Person a Day” Gratefulness

Take a different friend, family member, acquaintance, coworker or service provider each day of the year. Call that person and tell him or here how grateful you are for their presence in your life. You may hug the person, if that’s fine for you. This works a couple of ways. It lets people know that you care about them and appreciate them, and it also forces you to expand your circle of influence.

#6 – Say “Thank You” for Your Meal

Many people in the world don’t eat for days or are uncertain if they could even have water, but you may be more blessed than them in that respect.

You have several choices as far as what food to eat, how much, and when. You could try all sorts of expensive diets – paleo, vegetarian, vegan, keto, gluten-free – not because you have to but because you can afford to. You bulk buy, food binge, and go restaurant-hopping. You discard food that doesn’t suit your taste as easy as a snap. You get what I mean.

Whether you have an abundance of food or eat sparingly, express gratitude for the food you put into your body.

#7 – Give or Donate

You may lament the fact that you don’t have as many clothes, pairs of shoes or possessions as you would like. Find someone who has less than you. Give them something of yours. Perhaps, donate to your local charity, church, food bank or thrift shop. Collect your recyclable bottles and cans and hand them to people who depend on them for their income.

Doing these acts of kindness can make you realize how fortunate and blessed you are.

#8 – Share Your Expertise

Sometimes, all people need is a little boost in knowledge and skills to make a significant difference in their life.

If you are good at cooking, sewing, computing, writing a job application letter, or cutting hair, why not go to local community organizations or even schools to pass on your expertise to others? You may have worked years to achieve that level of proficiency but, hey, we all start somewhere, don’t we?

#9 – Let the Most Important Person in Your Life Know That You Appreciate Them

Go to the nearest mirror. Ask – Who is that person staring back at you? That is the person you should be most appreciative of.

You obviously love your friends and family, but you need to express self-love first before you can form the deepest relationships with others. Frequently look yourself in the eyes and express gratitude for who you are and what you have given yourself.

Tips to Reinforce Your Gratitude Attitude

What you do depends a lot on what goes on in your mind and heart. We’re talking of values and attitudes here.  To give you a boost in that respect, here are some helpful tips:

Tip #1 – As soon as you wake up in the morning, give thanks that you have another day to live. 

Tip #2 – Use all your senses to discover things to be grateful for. Touch. Feel. See. Smell. Taste. Hear. Live. 

Tip #3 – Smile and feel the warm sensation of positivity engulf your body.

Tip #4 – When you catch yourself thinking negatively, shift to positive mode immediately. 

Tip #5 – Rather than focusing your attention inward, look outward and realize what others have done for you.

Tip #6 – Keep a gratitude journal at your bedside. Use it at the same time each day or night.

Tip #7 – Keep “Be Grateful” sticky notes at places that you frequent at home and work.

Tip #8 – Have a list of “gratitude quotes” to refer to each day.

Tip #9 – Find a partner to practice thankfulness each day.  

How about you?

What ways do you express your gratitude?

What tips can you add to this list to spread the positive habit of daily gratitude?

Please feel free to share what you’ve got in your pocketful of wisdom!

7 Healthy Journaling Practices to Protect Your Privacy

Only you have the right to your journal.

You decide who sees its content and who don’t.

You’re the keeper of your journal but your journal is not always safe from prying eyes that could cause untoward circumstances.

Here are seven practices to keep your journal safe and private:

  • Journal privately. Find a place where you can write without being disturbed and bothering about people passing and peeking.
  • Close your journal pages when not in use. Don’t leave your journal open, even in a private place like your bedroom or office. You don’t want any of your family members – no matter how dear they are to you – to read what’s written on them.
  • Put your journal away as soon as you’re done. Never leave your journal anywhere public as this exposes your vulnerability. It would invite prying eyes, may be picked up inadvertently or worst, stolen intentionally.
  • Assert your privacy. Label it with something like “confidential,” personal property,”  “please don’t touch,” “return to… if found,” or something to that effect.
  • Choose simple over flashy.  Shun attention. If you can help it, do away with ones that arouse interest and curiosity. Keep away from intriguing journal covers like “Journal of My Sexcapades,” “Journal of People I Hate!” or “Journal of Dark Secrets.” Such titles are just too tempting for a thrilling read.
  • Camouflage. Put a simple, plain-looking or scruffy jacket to your journal. You may also put it among your other books on the shelf. If creating your own, use covers of vintage books.
  • Lock away your journal. Keep your journal in a safe place like a locked file drawer, desk drawer, safe box, or a secluded special place that others can’t easily access.

Taking these extra measures can protect you from being exposed to unnecessary risks and consequences.

How to Start a Journaling Practice

If you are new to journaling, you probably may have asked:

  • How do you start journaling?
  • Is there a proper or right way to do it?
  • When can you start?
  • What materials do you need?
  • How can you succeed at journaling?

I started journal writing in my late teens over 30 years ago (yes, that’s how old I am) when journals weren’t in style and were called by a different name. Yes, diary! And guess what, I used plain old ballpoint pens and lined notebooks. My journaling practice included writing my thoughts and feelings, inspiring quotes, expenses, contact information, daily to-do list and accomplishments, sketches, stories, insights, class notes, outlines of things to write, relevant facts and figures, among other forgettable stuff.

My daughter started journaling at elementary some seven years ago with just a pen and paper. It was a lot of girlie stuff, love notes to me, doodles, and stories. She still does now that she’s at Grade 10 and oh, dear! She has become so much better. She does it every day non-stop. She loves art so her journals are full of it.

We both weren’t well aware that what we were doing was journal writing. We just started it.

We didn’t think if there was even a proper or right way to write our thoughts, feelings, and creations on paper. We just did it.

We started when we felt ready. We didn’t give a thought about when. We just did.

We used whatever was there. Nothing fancy. Just plain old paper and anything that writes on it.

You may do that, too.

Journaling is simple. It knows no rules. People make their own. 

It is inspiring to use fancy journals and accessories such as:
  • ink pens
  • coloring pens
  • markers
  • stickers
  • stamp pads
  • sketch pads
  • dividers
  • acid-free papers
  • watercolors
  • gelli plates
  • glitters, and
  • various other embellishments.

You don’t have to.

It’s really up to you.

So about those questions, the answer is – Just start.

There is no right or wrong with journaling and how you do it is really up to you.

If writing long entries is what you enjoy or find helpful, do so.

Even the format is up to you.

You may jot down a few bullets or lines to serve as your memory aid.

However you do it, find a medium that’s comfortable.

8 Smart Tips to Advance Your Journaling Practice

There are countless ways to do journaling. 

Anyone who is into journaling can teach you a thing or two on how to do it.

Here are eight smart tips on journaling that you can learn from:

Tip #1: Find a journal that inspires you

Your journal doesn’t have to be fancy.

It can simply be a lined notebook oftentimes used at school.

It can be from recycled or recyclable paper that you buy or bind.

Use your computer, if you wish.

Whatever it is, let it be something you would spend long hours with (or, perhaps, most of your life).

It should inspire you to keep journaling even when you don’t feel like.

Tip #2: Keep things simple

Keep your journal log simple and short.

You don’t have to write kilometric paragraphs or error-free sentences.

Journals are supposed to be relaxing and liberating.

The more you keep things simple, the more you get out of it.

As such…

Forget about rules.

Even your own.

Take things easy.

Focus on opening up and being mindful of your thoughts and feelings.

Do that and you’ll be fine.

Tip # 3: Write freely

Your journal is your kingdom.

As a ruler, you do as you please.

Nobody can tell on you.

Don’t hold back.

Don’t make your handwriting lovely.

Don’t even correct mistakes.

If you have the urge to end each sentence with a stop, question mark or exclamation, stop!

Write freely – whatever and however.

Cry, sulk, laugh.

Be happy.

Tip #4: Focus on your feelings

The most important person in your journal is you.

Focus on you – most especially your feelings that affect your thoughts and behavior.

Being mindful of how you feel could liberate internal blocks or bolster positive energy.

If you are stumped about what to write, begin with the phrase, “I feel…”

This will unblock you and let your thoughts and emotions flow freely.

Soon, you’re better able to journal your thoughts and feelings.

Tip #5: Use prompts

If you’re struggling with what to write, use prompts to get your juices flowing.

Journaling prompts are idea starters that can aid and boost your journal writing.

They do wonders specially when you don’t know how to start, what to write, or how to keep going.

Examples of prompts are:

  • Think about a horrible experience in your childhood that transformed you into the person you are today.
  • Describe your perfect career and the reasons it would fulfill you.
  • Who is the person who influenced you to seriously pursue a profitable hobby or business?
  • If you were to start all over in your relationship with your significant other, what would you do differently?
  • What are your greatest regrets in life and why?

Tip #6: Make sense of your journal

Take time to review your filled-up journals.

You would understand yourself more if you do so.

Over time, you will see clear patterns of how you think, feel and behave.

Be open to possibilities while being as objective as possible.

Don’t judge, beat or belittle yourself.

Accept everything in it – good or bad, tasteful or distasteful, delightful or horrible.

Think – How can your discoveries improve your circumstances? How can they help you grow?

Focus of them.

Proceed from there.

Tip #7: Protect your privacy

Your journal is a sacred part of you. It is a window to your soul. It is therefore very important to feel secure writing and pouring yourself into it.

If you’re haunted by fears that people would violate your privacy, it is important to take the necessary steps to allay those fears.

For ways to keep your journal private, click here.

Tip #8: Keep going

Let journaling be second nature to you

Write daily.

Write when you feel like.

Write even when you’re under the weather.

Write for as long as you like or as briefly.

Write about anything.

Write about nonsensical or extraordinary things.

Write or do art.

However, do it regularly and don’t stop.

Soon, it would become effortless and involuntary.

By then, you shall have developed a great journaling habit!