Book Review: Combining Colouring & Mindfulness with …And Relax

and relax 1It was my birthday this weekend and I’m feeling particularly relaxed after a facial and massage today however I’m here to talk about something else I’ve been finding really therapeutic this week – this fab new colouring book …and Relax from Bluebird Books For Life.

I’ve written before about my love of adult colouring.  I have found it really useful for managing anxiety and stress as it’s a task that requires concentration but not thinking, allowing your mind to relax and, hopefully, provide relief from difficult thoughts or worries.

I was doodling on my son’s Pixar characters way before adult colouring was  a ‘thing’ but I’m really pleased it’s taken off and there are now so many books and magazines to choose from. However, this one takes the mindfulness side of colouring to a new level.  and relax 2

As well as a variety of patterns and nature drawings to colour, each page in this handbag-sized book also includes a helpful task or phrase to encourage staying present and relaxation, and often space to record your thoughts too.  From the simple “Record what you see” among a lovely leaf pattern and “All there is is now” inside a clock face, to the more complex “When doubts occur, observe them rising like bubbles, then popping and disappearing”.

The techniques chosen are varied and useful.  Some are instructions to actually practice mindfulness as you colour – such as observing the nature around you or tips for sleeping.  While others are more motivational phrases like “Be playful” or “Feel inspired.”

and relax 3Mindfulness feels a little like a buzz word of late but, behind the pop culture image, I truly believe it’s a really powerful technique, not just if you’re experiencing a mental health issue but as a tool to help relieve stress and bring more happiness into all of our everyday lives.  I’m surprised it’s taken so long for a book to combine the concepts of colouring and mindfulness so completely but …and relax does this wonderfully.

There’s a real mix of images and patterns and none are too complex or intricate which really suits my personal taste.  Plus, an extra feature I love is that some of the pages are about doodling or continuing patterns instead of (or in addition to) simply colouring.  I’d never tried this before but I found it equally therapeutic.  The book is the perfect size too, especially for taking out and about.  and relax 6

Visit Bluebird at Pan Macmillan to find out more and buy a copy.

Rhyming with Wine
Run Jump Scrap!

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