As we age, we are conditioned to follow societal expectations for what it means to be a “successful adult”. Sometimes this moves us away from eliciting creativity to problem solve or cope with stressful moments. Instead, we might lean on predetermined rules to navigate through challenges, or find ourselves using unhealthy coping strategies that perpetuate feelings of anxiety. While it is important to remain cognizant of rules, boundaries, and structure, it is equally important to slow down and invite your imagination to support through tough times.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a life stressor that is globally relatable. Systems have been working hard to make sense of how society can continue to function. Some workplaces have done what they can to shift to remote work. Others are resourceful in identifying how to continue to operate, such as outdoor dining experiences or curbside pick up. With all of these changes, we are learning to adjust to a new baseline, and this shift can cause anxiety, uncertainty, and feelings of dissociation. In this “new normal”, we can make room for a new mindset! It’s time to slow down, step away from all the worries, and ground ourselves in our colorful present moment.
This mindfulness based exercise is a great way to get in touch with your imagination, and allow your inner child to explore, notice, and appreciate your surroundings. If you are functionally able and willing, prepare to go on a walk around your neighborhood! Otherwise, you can practice this exercise indoors!
The purpose of this exercise is to successfully search for the rainbow in everyday objects that you might have passed by if you weren’t being mindful! On your mindful-based color journey, consider each color of the rainbow, including black and brown. So, let’s get started!
Starting with red, begin to look around your space, or the path you have chosen to walk through.
Regardless of how large the item is, focus on the red item, what does it remind you of? What do you think it smells like? Is it soft? Rugged? Multi-textured? Does the redness look different if there are shadows casted on it? In slowing down and allowing for careful consideration of this red item, you are letting your mind take a break from any worries or stressors that may have interfered with your ability to remain present. Once you’ve moved through this exercise with the color red, switch onto the next color: orange! And so on, until you’ve captured every color of the rainbow.
Here are some other ways you can practice mindfully searching for the rainbow!
Get busy and draw:
Grab a notebook and draw each item from memory! Color them in, as best you can, and remember to not allow your expectations to interfere with the purpose of the exercise: to practice mindfulness, playfulness, and allow for your vivid imagination to flourish.
Document your color hunt:
You can dedicate time to searching for only one color. For example, you spend 30 minutes searching for yellow items. Take a picture of each yellow item. Spend time comparing the differences in the yellow tones, the objects themselves, the purpose of each object.
Write about this process:
Set aside time for deep reflection after your mindfulness practice. Did you notice yourself rushing through a specific color, or the entire exercise in general? If so, what did you tell yourself when you felt a sense of urgency to complete this practice? How can you bolster self-compassion and remind yourself to stay present and kind to yourself?
About the Author
Rafi Fadda is an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (ASW) at Well Clinic in San Francisco. In her words:
“You deserve to feel acknowledged, validated, and affirmed.” As a bicultural therapist, I aim to work with individuals who are seeking the opportunity to re-examine their storyline and get creative in unpacking their identity.