Zentangle art: How you can benefit from it

July 27, 2018 17:30
Many see Zentangle a form of art that can help people snap out of stress, depression and loneliness. Photo: Internet

The world is simple but people are not. Our worries are usually nothing more than random thoughts created by our busy mind.

Research finds that patients with mood disorders are in a "doing mode" where they are constantly thinking, figuring out something and solving a problem. The mind and moods are therefore highly related.

A lot of readers are curious about zentangle, an art form that is gaining worldwide popularity, and how it functions in reducing stress and improving moods.

As its name suggests, zentangle is a Zen practice. It is an American-born drawing technique based on strings and circles. It fills spaces with simple yet repetitive strokes, demonstrating beauty in a complicated picture. People can enter a meditative state through creating zentangle patterns.

To me, zentangle is very much like mindfulness-based intervention in the way that they both find peace in business of the day and look quietly into one's own physical and mental experience.

Mindfulness-based intervention is a therapy through a series of exercises such as meditation and body scan to return to the "present", calm the mind and let go of judgmental thinking.

It is not necessarily a static but can also be a moving exercise, like zentangle. When a person is concentrated on drawing, his body is naturally relaxed, his mood improved and stress alleviated. Gradually, he will enter a meditative state without forcing it.

Many other mindfulness-based intervention activities can also help to switch the "doing mode" to the "being mode", allowing people to gain awareness and to live in the present.

Inner peace is very much determined by how present we are in the present. When we live in each moment, our emotions are more stable and we gain genuine happiness more easily. At work, we will be more focus and efficient.

From zentangle, we see the power of being mindful. Drawing, calligraphy or anything that helps us stay in the present can serve as a kind of Zen practice.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 17

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

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FHKAM (Psychiatry)