Experiences, Not Stuff
Some months ago I read an article about proven methods to reduce stress. Apparently I’ve been intuitively utilizing several of them – coloring (so to speak), changes in spending, and reduced screen time. Research has shown increased screen time to be a major risk factor for mood disorders among U.S. adults.
One key recommendation was to spend on experiences, not things. The former give long-term happiness via memories, while buying things provides only a brief mood boost from brain chemicals. Rather than buying lots of stuff, I indulge in theater and concert experiences at home. I also make a point of taking vacations that provide novel experiences.
Last fall’s trip to southern Spain is an example. It will result in new paintings of everything from Seville’s old city to the stunning Moorish architecture of Cordoba, the gorge where Ronda clings to a cliff, and the ocean at Cadiz. My painting process shown here – photo cropping, thumbnail sketch, rough-in composition – also helps fulfil the “coloring” recommendation for stress reduction. LOL All joking aside, I do indeed find painting with vibrant pastels helps me focus and feel good.
This work in progress will become a painting of Cadiz, a port city where we relaxed for several days after spending too much time in buses on challenging mountain roads. While not exceptional, Cadiz checked all the boxes for Spain – a cathedral, the ruins of a fort, a medieval old town, lots of ham – plus stunning ocean views, and even surfers. I’ll post another image when this painting is finished.