Creativity Coloring Page for Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal

Hi friends! Since Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal launches in three weeks, I’ve recently been sharing some of the coloring pages, which all depict things we can do to minimize anxiety in our daily lives.

So far I’ve shared:

Today’s tip: Create something with your hands.

If you’ve ever immersed yourself in any type of creative activity, you know how meditative and calming it can be.

When we’re focused on the next brush stroke, bead, or stitch, we’re deeply immersed in the present moment—not caught up in our thoughts, fears, and worries.

This is why I decided to include doodling and coloring pages in this journal. Research has shown that coloring calms down our amygdala—the fear center of the brain—and it also activates the parts of the brain that are responsible for focus and concentration.

Beyond that, coloring and other creative activities bring us back to the ease of a simpler time—before we had to worry about bills, bosses, and other stresses of adulthood.

When we were kids, we didn’t need to make time for creativity; it was as natural as breathing and saying no to things we didn’t like. Whether we were pretending to be pirates, fairies, or superheroes, we were always eager to pick up some cardboard and markers to make our own accessories and props.

And for that brief flicker of time, all we saw was the fantasy in our head, projected onto our bedroom or yard.

For many of us, childhood wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but the time we spent creating was.

When I look back on my life up until now, I see that all the happiest and most defining moments involved some form of creativity.

Like the decade I spent working at an afterschool program for kids, where I directed them in plays, made some of their costumes, and often designed arts and crafts projects for us to try.

And the years I spent sketching in my book of shadows (during my teenage wiccan years), trying to create a guidebook for magic and light in the dark ages of my adolescence.

And the time I spent crocheting afghans for everyone I love—first during the three months I spent at a residential treatment center for eating disorders, and later while traveling across the US with assorted mobile marketing tours.

These days, I don’t create with my hands often enough. I’m more likely to create something digitally (like the many coloring posters in the fun & inspiring section). But whenever I disconnect from technology and focus on making something from nothing, it’s like the whole world stops—along with my thinking mind. And for a brief flicker in time there’s only heart. Just love, joy, and pure presence.

I know there are a lot of you out there who also enjoy creating, and I would love to connect with you. So please, take a minute or two and say hello. Introduce yourself if we’re not acquainted, and tell me about something you’ve recently created, or you’d like to create. You can even share a picture if you’d like. Whatever it is, it’s a piece of your heart, and I would love to see it.

From now until June 26th, you’ll get three bonus gifts, including a guided meditation series on letting go, when you pre-order Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal. All you need to do is order a copy here and forward your purchase confirmation email to worryjournal@tinybuddha.com

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest book, Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for pre-order. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

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Hugging Coloring Page from Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal

“Sometimes in life all you need is a hug. No words, no advice, just a hug to make you feel better.” ~Unknown

Hi friends! Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been sharing coloring pages from the soon-to-be-launched Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal, which also includes doodle prompts, writing prompts, and questions to help you minimize anxiety in your daily life.

So far I’ve shared the music coloring page and the meditation coloring page.

Today’s page is one of my favorites. The tip: Hug someone to release the feel-good chemical oxytocin (a hormone that some have called an “antidote to depressive feelings”).

“Hugging is good medicine. It transfers energy and gives the person hugged an emotional lift. You need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance, and twelve for growth.” ~Unknown

As someone who works alone, I can sometimes feel a little starved for connection during my day—which is ironic, since I connect with so many people online. But you can’t look into someone’s eyes in a comment. You can’t hear their heartbeat in an email. And you can’t touch their hand in a Facebook exchange.

Whenever I’ve had a tough day, it’s tempting to want to talk it all out—more thoughts, more words, more analysis. And sometimes, this helps. But more often than not, I just need a hug.

I just need to feel close to someone I love and to melt into their arms.

Sure, it feels great to be heard. But sometimes I just need to be held so I can remind myself what it feels like to let go.

We all need this sometimes. We all need this connection, this comfort, this release.

Everything seems easier when we feel supported, and everything feels more manageable when we remember we’re not alone.

“Hugs are so underrated, especially those hugs that are so tight you can literally feel the other person’s heartbeat and for a moment everything feels so calm and safe and like nothing can hurt you.” ~Unknown

Hug someone today. Put down your phone, reach out your arms, and feel their heartbeat. It could help you more than you think, and the person you give it to could need it more than you know.

From now until June 26th, you’ll get three bonus gifts, including a guided meditation series on letting go, when you pre-order Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal. All you need to do is order a copy here and forward your purchase confirmation email to worryjournal@tinybuddha.com

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest book, Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for pre-order. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

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The Past May Have Shaped Us, But We Have the Power to Change

“If you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down.” ~Toni Morrison

Our very first relationship is the one we develop with ourselves. However, even that one is shaped by outside forces.

You may or may not believe that we choose our family. Regardless of your position regarding how your soul made it to your parents’ household, the truth is that the environment we are born into determines a great deal of the rest of our lives. This is especially true about the way we relate with ourselves and others.

We learn by observing and experiencing the dynamics in our home. Our brains absorb the discourses. The judgments passed over us and the stories told about us become a part of our personality. The words we hear from the voices around us become embedded into our inner voice.

We end up with a creation from the hands of Dr. Frankenstein: a patched up combination of voices that we later adopt as our own. That voice plays a huge role in how we develop a relationship with ourselves and, therefore, with those around us.

The outside world shaped the inner reality that, in turn, will facilitate how we relate to that outer world.

We learn from the way that our caregivers react to stress, from how they manage their anger, and how they engage in arguments.

We learn from how they treat themselves, us, and the rest of the world.

We learn about limitations and about fear.

We learn to worry and to lie.

We learn to yell out and to bottle it all in.

We learn to over-react and to act like leaves at the mercy of the wind.

We learn to micromanage and to be oblivious to life.

We can learn the extremes. However, we can also learn balance.

What is your vision for yourself? I’m talking about a real life vision, not about your annual income goal, or your income-to-debt ratio, or that degree you’ve been meaning to get. I’m not talking about the car you want or the trip you’ve dreamed of. Not that those things are bad or meaningless; they’re simply not a vision, they’re goals.

What I am asking is: What is your vision? What state of being do you wish to create for yourself? What kind of relationships to you want to nurture? How do you want to feel? 

My parents did their best to give me the best they had to give. I learned about hard work, being of service in the community, and believing in the divine. However, I did not develop anger management and conflict resolution skills, calming strategies, a healthy self-concept, or effective communication and decision-making skills.

In other words, I was a typical clueless adult who was able to make money and run the rat race functionally. But I knew very little of myself, or how to develop healthy relationships with myself and others.

As a matter of fact, I had no idea what healthy relationships looked and felt like. This led to a bumpy road that involved quite a few panic attacks, aggression, toxic relationships, isolation, and a social media and sugar addiction. The details of my journey are truly irrelevant. However, the lessons gained do have value.

It started with answering questions I had never asked myself. Also, tools such as meditation, counseling, spiritual work, a lot of reading, journaling, praying, and developing a support village assisted me in the journey.

Being open to the process is quintessential. So, I invite you to address the following questions with an open heart and observe your thoughts about yourself and others.

Take note of the things you visualize on a daily basis. Do your visualizations match your vision? Or are they hindering it?

What does a healthy relationship with yourself feel like?

How about the conversations you have with yourself? How did that voice form?

Where do these stories about yourself come from? Are you truly that person?

How is your relationship with yourself? Are you hyper-critical? Do you “bash” on yourself? Or do you make excuses for yourself?

What type of relationships do you envision for your journey?

What type of narratives do you create in your mind with those who surround you? Do you imagine arguments? Do you mentally practice “come back phrases”? Do you spend time rehearsing irrelevant hypothetical situations? Do you declare negative labels on the rest of the world?

Your early caregivers started the work of raising you, but you are the one responsible for continuing it. We are never done growing. You are not done. The universe is not done with you. Now it’s your turn to help yourself create the reality you envision for yourself.

About Oñi Adda

Oñi Adda is a Yoruba Iyalosha. She is also a teacher of children with special needs, a mother to a wonderful four-year-old walking piece of sunshine on Earth, and a legendary bathtub singer. She believes that our journey on the material plane has one purpose: to grow. That growth leads to Light and Light leads to unity in our communities.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

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Meditation Coloring Page from Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal

Hi friends! As I mentioned last week when I shared the music coloring page from Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal, I’m planning to share some of the other pages, twice weekly, until the journal launches on June 26th.

Each page depicts one simple thing we can do to help ease our worries.

Today’s tip: Make time for meditation.

Of all the healthy habits I’ve adopted, meditation has been, by far, the most transformative.

It’s enabled me to observe my negative, obsessive thoughts instead of getting caught up in them, and it’s helped me create space between my thoughts and my response, so I’m less apt to do and say things I’ll later regret.

The beautiful thing about meditation is that there are many ways to do it, to suit your schedule and needs.

You can use guided meditations (I’ve included four in the pre-order bonus package!); you can learn any number of different techniques for seated meditation; you can practice deep breathing; you can try a movement-based practice, such as yoga, qigong, and meditative walking; or you can simply practice mindfulness in your daily life—while eating or doing the dishes for example.

And even if you only have five minutes, you’ll experience the benefits.

Research has shown that anxiety can change the structure of your brain, increasing the size of the amygdala (the part responsible for your fear response), causing you to become even more anxious.

A regular meditation practice can reverse this. It can literally change how your brain works and, consequently, how you respond to the events in your life.

My preferred forms of meditation include:

-Yoga (Vinyasa, hot yoga, and yin yoga—which a teacher recently described as “basically a nap with light stretching”)

-Guided meditations (I’ve found tons of free options on YouTube)

-Deep breathing (alternative nostril breathing being my favorite)

If I have the time, I’ll go to an hour-long yoga class at a studio down the street (which also allows me to clear my mind a little on the walk) or find a thirty-minute guided meditation online.

If I have less time available, I’ll do five to ten minutes of poses, a five-minute guided meditation, or a few minutes of deep breathing. No matter what I choose, I always feel calmer and more centered after.

Do you have a regular meditation practice? If so, what’s your practice of choice, and how has it changed your life for the better? Your experience could help other readers find peace, calm, and healing, so please share the good!

From now until June 26th, you’ll get three bonus gifts, including a guided meditation series on letting go, when you pre-order Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal. All you need to do is order a copy here and forward your purchase confirmation email to worryjournal@tinybuddha.com

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest book, Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for pre-order. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

The post Meditation Coloring Page from Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

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5 Journal Prompts to Help You Let Go of Anxiety and Find Peace

“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” ~Dan Millman

There was a time when my mind was completely consumed by worries, and I lived in a perpetual state of panic.

I worried about things I’d said and whether people were judging me, things I should be doing and whether I was using my time well, the state of my life, the state of the world, and just about anything else one could worry about.

Life always felt scary and uncertain, so I always felt unsafe, and worrying gave me the illusion of gaining some semblance of control.

Well-intentioned people advised me to just be positive—then I’d feel a lot better about life. But I’ve always found the concept of positive thinking somewhat frustrating.

First, it made me feel guilty, since no matter how hard I tried to avoid negative thoughts, they’d inevitably pop into my head. Secondly, it was exhausting. To constantly monitor your mind takes monumental effort, and it seemed contrary to my goal—to be less burdened by my brain.

Still, there’s no denying that our thoughts influence our feelings. When we sit around dwelling on everything that could go wrong, or everything we think we did wrong, we end up feeling drained and depressed.

So what’s the solution, then? How can we allow ourselves to be human and simultaneously ensure we don’t drown in our fearful thoughts?

For me, journaling has been key.

Journaling has helped me find solutions to my problems, identify and let go of things I can’t control, and change my perspective on the things I want to change but can’t.

It’s also helped me recognize my own strength so that I can worry less about what’s coming and trust more in my ability to handle it, whatever it may be.

If you’re looking for a little mental relief this week, I recommend starting each weekday with one of these five journal prompts from Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal: A Creative Way to Let Go of Anxiety and Find Peace

The beauty of these particular prompts is that they help us focus on the moment, be kind to ourselves, and have faith in ourselves and our journey, wherever it may lead.

5 Journal Prompts to Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind

1. Today, I choose to let go of the things I can’t control, including…

2. I recognize that I don’t need to have all the answers right now. Today, I give myself permission not to know…

3. Dear inner critic: You always focus on everything I’m doing wrong, but I know I’m doing a lot right, including…

4. I know I’m strong enough to handle whatever comes at me, because I’ve survived a lot, including…

5. Instead of worrying about making the “wrong” choices, I trust that no matter what I choose…

You don’t need to write anything specific or lengthy, though you can take all the time you have and need. The important thing is that you get in the habit of thinking about yourself and your problems in a new way.

It’s not about suppressing thoughts or replacing them with positive ones. It’s about directing your mind to useful thoughts so you can spend less of your life feeling worried and overwhelmed.

Just like gratitude journaling can help us feel happier and more optimistic, keeping a worry journal can help us feel calmer and more at peace.

If you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy of Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal, which officially launches on June 26th, you can reserve a copy here.

Once you receive your purchase confirmation email, forward it to worryjournal@tinybuddha.com and you’ll receive access to the following free bonus items:

  • Four guided meditations on letting go (of control, the need for approval, stresses/pressure, and self-judgment)
  • Three colorful desktop wallpapers with cute Buddhas and calming quotes
  • An exclusive interview with me and Ehren Prudhel, founder of the soon-to-be-launched podcast Next Creator Up, in which I discuss how I’ve overcome worries related to writing my first feature film

I hope these prompts (and the other activities in the journal) help you as much as they’ve helped me!

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest book, Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for pre-order. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

The post 5 Journal Prompts to Help You Let Go of Anxiety and Find Peace appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

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3 Ways to Stop Worrying and Feel Less Anxious

“There isn’t enough room in your mind for both worry and faith. You must decide which one will live there.” ~Sir Robertson

Do you consider yourself a worrier?

Maybe even a perfectionist or Type A personality?

When I’m not at my best, I can be all of those things combined. (Not cute, I know.)

Because of this, I know exactly what it feels like to be stuck in my head, with tightness in my chest and emotional wrenches in my gut.

If you also struggle with worry and anxiety, then I feel you. I rode the worry struggle bus for a long time—until I finally addressed my psychology.

Why Your Psychology Matters Most

My aunt once told me (after I called her in the middle of a freak out), “You’re worried because you’re trying to control the future Kari, and that’s impossible.”

Woah. Paradigm shift. That’s when it all ‘clicked’ and I realized that my issues with worry and anxiety were all self-created.

Then it got me wondering… If I created this worry and anxiety with my thoughts, maybe I can create relaxation with my thoughts too.

After researching the psychology of worry, I learned some practices that helped transition me from an uptight chronic worrier into a pretty relaxed person. I still have my moments, but it’s nothing like before.

Today, I’d like to share three of my best practices with you. I hope they can help you reduce your worry and anxiety too.

Let’s start with the most practical piece of advice.

1. Practice using coping imagery.

This involves visualizing yourself handling worst-case scenarios with confidence.

And just to be clear: You’re visualizing the worst-case scenario, not the best case. It’s like defensive pessimism, which can actually help with anxiety more than positive thinking.

So instead of worrying about being crushed by the worst-case scenario, try visualizing yourself handling it with confidence.

Here’s an example (that I cringe to share with you because it seems so silly in hindsight):

I recently started dating a guy who I developed some serious feelings for. I had the most successful first date of my life with him, and it’s been amazing ever since.

But instead of getting excited about the potential, I started worrying about all the things that could go wrong. (Like I said, being a worrier is self-created misery!)

Specifically, I was worried that in the future we wouldn’t be able to see each other for weeks because he was crazy busy. I grew anxious over feeling devastated in the future by the potential lack of quality time I crave.

Although it wasn’t even a problem yet, I started worrying about making plans to the point where I started sabotaging the romance by “trying too hard.”

I let my anxiety consume me, and I became the chaser instead of allowing something beautiful to naturally unfold. I hated that I started to sabotage something beautiful, but in that moment, (it felt like) I couldn’t help myself.

And this is where the switch happens.

Instead of worrying about how devastated I would feel if we couldn’t spend time together, I started visualizing myself feeling okay if I didn’t get to see him. (I chose “okay” instead of “happy” because it needs to be realistic.)

Instead of thinking about the void, I thought about all the other wonderful things I could do with my time, like surf or entertain my hobbies.

This seriously helped put my mind and body at ease! Here are more details for the process:

How to Do It

To practice using coping imagery, start by imagining the situation that brings you anxiety. How do you feel? What are you thinking?

Then, start to imagine a warm glow of confidence radiating from you. Imagine being in that situation feeling totally confident and capable. How does it feel? What are you thinking?

Then, imagine something going wrong—something that you’re worried about—and imagine yourself handling that situation with confidence and ease too. What thoughts and feelings helped you handle it

Get comfortable with these thoughts and feelings and keep mentally practicing them.

This “mental rehearsal” helps activate neuroplasticity, your brain’s ability to rewire itself and form new neural connections, like new thought loops.

The more you practice using coping imagery, the more you strengthen the new thought loops for positive thinking (or defensive pessimism) and weaken the thought loops for worrying.

In time, you’ll naturally become less of a worrier because your brain has been trained to think confident thoughts instead of worrisome thoughts.

2. Be willing to feel uncomfortable.

Worry and anxiety often come from trying to protect yourself from pain. And I don’t blame you. Our primal brain is wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain; and anxiety is often caused by worrying about the potential pain that we might feel in the future.

Sometimes we’re so afraid of emotional pain and loss that we forget that they can’t physically harm us.

And this is where the saying “make peace with discomfort” will serve you very well; because your ability to be uncomfortable is directly related to your ability to be a relaxed person.

Sometimes we assume that we need to be comfortable in order to be relaxed. But sometimes being relaxed simply means feeling uncomfortable and being okay with that.

The more discomfort you’re able to tolerate, the less you’ll worry about preventing it from happening.

For me, I had to develop the skill of tolerating uncertainty (which is an uncomfortable feeling for me) in my dating life. Although uncertainty feels uncomfortable, I learned to make space for it instead of worrying about making it go away.

If you want to develop the skill of tolerating discomfort too, here’s how you can do it:

How to Do It

A great way to train yourself to tolerate discomfort is to take cold showers. Yup! Even just a five-minute cold shower a day can train your brain to tolerate discomfort.

Not into cold showers? Another great practice is setting aside fifteen minutes every day as your “uncomfortable practice periods.” These practice periods will help you develop the skill of tolerating discomfort.

So whenever you start to feel uncomfortable in your daily life, use it as practice. Hold space for the discomfort and make peace with it as best you can.

For example, if you really hate public speaking, then use your weekly company meeting as a place to practice being uncomfortable by speaking up at least once.

The more you practice feeling uncomfortable, the better you will get at being uncomfortable. And the more uncomfortable you’re willing to be, the less worry and anxiety you will feel.

You’ll learn to let life unfold naturally without worry.

3. Plan what you can and let the rest unfold.

During the months preceding graduation from college I experienced the biggest bout of anxiety and worry that ever consumed me.

What if I don’t get any interviews? What if I totally flunk the interview I get? What if I get the job and hate it? What if, what if, what if?

Fueled by tons of stress, I worked really hard to apply to dozens of jobs before I graduated. In constant panic mode, I refused to leave my desk to play because I was convinced that every ounce of my energy needed to be dedicated to solving this problem.

In the end, I ended up getting a job through a friend who happened to mention the opportunity through random conversation.

I couldn’t have planned for that.

All my preparation paid off, but there was one lesson that I took away from all the unnecessary worry and anxiety:

If I had done everything the same, but did it all in a relaxed fashion, I would have created the same result.

“Let go of the idea that gentle, relaxed people can’t be superachievers… One of the major reasons so many of us remain hurried, frightened, and competitive, and continue to live life as if it were one giant emergency, is our fear that if we were to become more peaceful and loving, we would suddenly stop achieving our goals.” ~Richard Carlson

Sometimes we get tripped up thinking that stress is somehow essential for getting things done. And while some stress is beneficial, extreme stress and anxiety are not necessary for success.

You can be a totally relaxed person and still get everything done—without worry.

How to Do It

Sit down and write down all the things you’re worried/stressed about. Then pretend like you’re coaching someone else with those problems.

What advice would you give them? What steps would you have them take?

Then, follow those steps and stop there. Don’t worry about whether or not you did enough. You followed your own advice, and you can relax about the rest.

Plan what you can, and then breathe. Don’t let your mind continue to race about all the things that could go wrong (unless you’re using Coping Imagery).

Just have faith that what’s meant to be will be, and let the universe carry you for a while.

You’ve Got This

Together, these three steps helped me seriously reduce my anxiety and worry. Will you join me and try them too?

Start by making coping imagery and “uncomfortable practice periods” daily habits. This will help you develop the skill of tolerating discomfort, and your worry and anxiety will lessen.

In time, you will get better at letting life unfold the way it was always meant to be.

Some days you might still find yourself on the worry struggle bus. But maybe this time you’ll feel like you’re in the driver’s seat.

About Kari Dahlgren

Kari Dahlgren is an anti-diet weight loss coach with a radical philosophy: You can love yourself lighter. Learn the tools to stop binge eating and love your body by subscribing to her new YouTube channel and following her blog!

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

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