Everyone has their own issues to deal with every day, and it is no surprise that people are reporting heightened levels of stress globally. According to a survey by health service company Cigna, Singaporeans are among the most stressed at work globally

For the working adults, Forbes has articles on tips to reduce your stress at work. However, stress can be encountered by all ages everywhere beyond work. It is important for all of us to learn a few tricks on stress management, hence we have compiled a list of ways to help you destress.

1. Deep breathing

When you are relaxed, take a moment to observe how you breathe. Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful technique to relax your mind and body. Some people like listening to therapeutic music while practicing breathing, but all you need is just a quiet place and a few minutes of concentration. 

Some of the basic tips on deep breathing are:

  • Lie down flat on a ground or sit up straight, but make sure you are comfortable with the position.
  • Place one hand on your stomach.
  • Inhale and take a deep breath through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise and move out.
  • Exhale and breathe out through your mouth. The hand on your stomach should fall and move in.
  • Observing your hand movements will help you to concentrate on your breathing.
  • Repeat this several times and take your time with each breath.

Notice how you feel at the end of this breathing exercise. You can check out other types of breathing exercises as well.

2. Spend time in nature

There is nothing more relaxing than getting up close and personal with greenery and mother nature. According to a study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, being involved with nature can bring about many individual and social benefits. 

Stressed or not, we should take a moment now and then to appreciate the nature we are surrounded by as taking time to enjoy these little moments can lift our spirits up as well.

Despite the small land mass, Singapore is a haven with rich biodiversity. From MacRitchie Reservoir Park with the magnificent TreeTop Walk to the lush and verdant Southern Ridges, there are plenty of parks and gardens for you to take walking or cycling trails in.

3. Mindfulness Meditation

More often than not, we worry too much about things in the past or things that might happen in the future. Mindful meditation helps you to focus on what is happening right now and be fully engaged in the present moment.

Practicing meditation helps you to calm your jumbled thoughts that are in your mind and causing stress. Meditation can give you a sense of peacefulness that can benefit your overall health. That is why there is an increase in public interest in mindful meditation.

You don’t need any tools to practice meditation; similar to deep breathing, you just need a quiet place and a moment of concentration. When you start on this meditation journey, you may want to try meditating for only 10 minutes or less, and then gradually increase the timing.

Most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself if your mind wanders. If you find yourself being distracted during meditation, try to focus on what you are actually thinking about – for instance, if you are thinking about “I wonder if I will be able to finish my work tonight”, acknowledge the thought, and then let it go. Try to bring your focus back to your breathing. 

If you need some guidance with meditation, Buddhist nun Gen Kelsang Nyema did a wonderful Ted talk about how happiness is all in your mind, and you may join her meditation process during the talk.

4. Get Creative

Your artistic side can help you to better manage stress as well. As mentioned in our “5 Reasons Why You Should Draw and Paint” post, art therapy is a widely used method in mental health treatment that can lower anxiety and stress. 

Studies have shown that cortisol, a hormone, is a marker of stress. In a report published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, Kaimal and a group of researchers discovered that after 45 minutes of art-making, there is a significant reduction in the cortisol levels of the participants.

The bottom line is that you should not worry too much about the final product. Just focus on the present moment, get in touch with the artistic side in you, and enjoy making art.

If you would like to have a relaxing session by creating art in a studio, sign up for Drawing and Painting Lessons at Pabha. Pabha offers a variety of classes for anyone interested in art and they are taught by professional artist Pabhrakara Jimmy Quek.

Remember, as William S. Burroughs once said, “Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” It is important to manage stress effectively and we hope that this article has helped you to learn how to relax.

A man is only as good as his tools. If you've picked up a new weekend hobby in an attempt to be artsy, it's time to head out and stock up your arsenal of art materials. There are plenty of places with good art supplies around the island. Wait no more, here is a list of 7 places worth visiting to get your art supplies. 

Not sure of what hobby to take up next? Here’s 5 reasons why you should draw.

1. Straits Art Co- Affordable professional art supplies

Image credit: Straits Art Co Pte. Ltd Facebook

Straits Art Co Pte. Ltd is a 70-year-old specialty store which imports a range of products by Australian and American brands. It supplies fine art materials, graph materials, art and crafts at very competitive prices that you would not find so easily at other places! They have professional quality products for people of all levels.

2. Art Friend – Beginners to experts

You don’t have to be an artist to have heard of Art Friend. Whether it’s for a school project or making a birthday card for your friend, chances are you have been here at least once in your life.

Image credit: Urban Sketchers Singapore

Established in 1981, Art Friend is located in three different locations within Singapore - Bras Basah Complex, Plaza Singapura, and Clementi Central.

You’ll be able to find everything you need for your art project here – from paint and canvasses to specialised supplies like resin and sewing items, alongside with paper products and even woodworking items. 

3. Overjoyed - Art, stationery, lifestyle

Overjoyed is your art and stationery lifestyle store. Overjoyed has recently moved to the new location at the Cathay. The spacious store offers a range of art materials such as calligraphy pens, acrylic paints, brushes, and they also offer workshops for art enthusiasts!

Image credit: Overjoyed Facebook

Their shelves are filled with acrylic, oil, calligraphy and watercolour materials. For tertiary students, you can even get a 15% off just by flashing your matric card!

4. Spotlight - A comprehensive store for beginners

From basic paper craft and paint supplies, you’ll be able to find all the tools you’ll possibly need at Spotlight. Don’t worry if you are just a beginner, you can click on their buying guide to get a more comprehensive understanding of their products. For th more hands on people, they carry a large range of materials and fabrics for your DIY project as well.

Image credit:  https://www.thebestsingapore.com/best-place/spotlight-2/

5. Krafers Paradise - Huge collection of spray paints and painting supplies

Image credit: Krafers paradise facebook

Krafers’ Paradise functions as a retail store, art studio and gallery all in one. They have such a  wide array of colours and spray paints that you are sure to be spoilt for choice! They also carry the drawing supplies like brush pens, charcoal, calligraphy pens, and watercolour paper that you can't go wrong with.

Bonus portion: Go budget!

6.  Ikea

Image credit: www.IKEA.com

Everyone’s favourite place to go for furniture and meatballs is no stranger to art as well. Its range of craft products includes oil pastels, ink stampers with various designs, watercolour paint boxes, blackboards and nice, thick pencils.

7. Daiso

Image credit: www.daisosingapore.com.sg

The $2 heaven, Daiso is Japan’s number one supplier of homewares, stationery, art materials and more. The store usually puts out seasonal products, but also offers artsy decorations for special occasions.

In fact, if you sign up for our Drawing and Painting Lessons at Pabha, you can use the art supplies that are available at the studio on your first session, saving you the hassle of purchasing materials from elsewhere.

Anyone interested to learn painting or drawing at any level is welcomed to join the art classes at Pabha. If you just started on this journey, you may join the “Acrylic Painting for Beginner” class, while those who are more experienced may join the “Painting for Improver” or “Painting with Artist” classes. Classes at Pabha are taught by professional local artist Pabhrakara Jimmy Quek with over 30 years of experience.

We hope that this article has inspired you to pick up a pencil or an art brush and get started on your artistic journey! If you would like to learn how to draw or paint better, sign up here.

Painting by Prabhakara Jimmy Quek

We have all been painters at some point in our lives. Whether you are an amateur or a painting genius like this 6-year-old, there is so much to appreciate about art. If it has been a long time since you’ve picked up a paint brush, here is a list of reasons why you should draw and paint again.

1. Painting is a way to unleash your creativity.

There is a concept suggesting that people who are “left-brained” are more logical while people who are “right-brained” are more creative. However, scientists held that this is just a myth

While the brain’s left and right hemispheres handle distinct functions, they both play important roles in logical and creative thinking.

Creativity explains why some people are more likely able to provide new solutions to old problems than others. This is why it is a highly sought-after skill of the future.

No matter left-brain or right-brain, it is a no brainer that painting helps to develop our creativity.

2. Art therapy helps you to destress.

Art-making can lower anxiety and stress. Studies have shown that cortisol is a hormone which is one of the most widely studied markers of stress. In a report published in Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, Kaimal and a group of researchers found that there is a significant reduction in the cortisol levels of the participants after 45 minutes of art-making.

Art therapy is a widely used method in mental health treatment. Art therapy has been around since the 1940s and has been used to treat a wide range of psychological distress and mental disorders.

One of the techniques used in art therapy includes coloring mandalas. In another report published in Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, an experimental study showed that coloring a mandala reduces the anxiety of participants to a significant degree.

3. Drawing and painting can make you happier.

Have you heard of the flow before? It’s the cognitive state you get in when you are completely immersed in an activity. When you are in the state of flow, you would be oblivious to the outside world and only focusing on what is going on right here and now.

Discovered and coined by Hungarian-American psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the process of flow involves intense concentration, creative engagement and the loss of awareness of the self.

Some people called the flow “the pillar peak of performance”. The best part about being in a flow state is that it helps to increase your happiness, too! Research has shown that happier people find themselves in the flow more often and for longer periods of time.

The process of drawing and painting can help you to achieve the flow state. In fact, Csikszentmihalyi discovered the flow in the 1960s by studying the creative process and how artists would persist at their task relentlessly when they are in the course of flow.

4. Art making can help to strengthen your memory.

Creative engagement does more than just make you happy – it can also help to strengthen your memory and is thus an effective treatment for patients with dementia.

In fact, in order to combat memory loss, Dr. Arnold Bresky created a program called the “Brain Tune Up” where he uses art as a therapy for dementia and Alzheimer patients. He believes that drawing and painting help to reduce memory loss and he claims to have achieved a 70% success rate in improving his patients’ memories.

Studies have also shown that creativity and art can stimulate dementia patients positively, sharpening the capacity of the patients’ senses and their propensity to act themselves.

5. Painting is an easy and fun activity!

Finally, art making is an activity in which you can just be calm, work with your brain and have fun at the same time. The best part is that it doesn’t cost you much to get started with this hobby!

In fact, if you sign up for our Drawing and Painting Lessons at Pabha, you can use the art supplies that are available at the studio on your first session, saving you the hassle of purchasing materials from elsewhere.

Anyone interested to learn painting or drawing at any level is welcomed to join the art classes at Pabha. If you just started on this journey, you may join the “Acrylic Painting for Beginner” class, while those who are more experienced may join the “Painting for Improver” or “Painting with Artist” classes. Classes at Pabha are taught by professional local artist Pabhrakara Jimmy Quek with over 30 years of experience.

We hope that this article has inspired you to pick up a pencil or an art brush and get started on your artistic journey! If you would like to learn how to draw or paint better, sign up here.

I am preparing for a small painting art exhibition to be held online from November 20 to December 19, 2020. I like to show 36 small paintings for this exhibition. I hope these paintings can be ideal gifts for the year-end holidays, and the price of each painting does not exceed one hundred dollars. If you want to preview and purchase any paintings before the official exhibition starts on November 20th, please let me know.

Original painting of ACEO size

I have created some ACEO size paintings recently and I have posted some of them at www.pabha.com/ACEO they are available for your collection. You can buy it online and make payment by credit card or PayPal payment. I shall send it to your address locally or abroad with free postage.

I like to invite you to visit the Post Circuit Breaker Period Art Exhibition - "New Relationship". An Online Virtual Exhibition by me from 26 June to 6 August at www.pabha.com/PostCircuitBreakerPeriodArtExhibition

I present the works digitally and to create new experiences for all to access the digital presentation of the art exhibition during the COVID-19 Post Circuit Breaker Period.

This exhibition marks the beginning of establishing a new relationship and connection with people digitally in my artistic practice. Do feel free to give your comment/ feedback/ message/ enquiry and share this post to more people. I thank you for your visit and support.

For more other information visit www.pabha.com

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, art sessions at the studio will be suspended until 30 April. But art-making continues and it never ends. Our "Ongoing art sessions go online" now! You stay at home. You paint at home and communicate with the artist (Prabhakara Jimmy Quek) online. It is our new way of running art activities. During the period of the scheduled session, participants communicate with Jimmy online via Zoom or Facebook Messenger video chat whichever is available. More information at www.pabha.com/onlineartclass.htm

If you like to discover how to draw and paint and yet you do not have to leave your home for that, then this online art session is available for your consideration. With many years of art practitioner experiences, as a professional artist and an art teacher. I shall be able to share with you tips and ways of drawing and painting via using FB Messenger video chat during the art session. Wherever you are, you can learn and practise art with me now!

More information about ongoing art sessions go online at www.pabha.com/artclass.htm

I have helped many hundreds of people learning drawing and painting in my studio in the past decade, I am confident that I can help you when we go online. You save the time and expenses of travelling to my place, just stay at your place and yet we can practise art together!

Contact me if you have any question or book for your sessions now! Visit my website for all information at www.pabha.com Email me or message me using FB messenger to reach me.

Prabhakara Jimmy Quek, 27 March 2020.


This happened in 2010. I told my mother that I painted a painting of a lion head knocker handle. She came to my house just to see it. She looked at the knocker knob painted on the canvas and started talking, and she also showed a funny expression to the picture. I was surprised to see those actions.


My mother told me that she had a lion head knocker handle on the door of her house in China when she was a child as if it was painted on this canvas. The knocker handle was there when she was born. She said she often plays with door knockers at home. She likes to say hello to the lion head on the knocker knob when she goes home or leaves the house.


She told me that the lion head greeted her at her door every day. Every time she passed by the door, she said "hello" and "goodbye" to the lion head. The knocker handle has the characteristics of a lion's face. It has eyes, nose, and mouth, so when she was a little girl, she talked to it, touched it and played with it. I can understand that.


She said that since she left home at the age of 12 to Hong Kong, she never saw the lion-faced knocker handle again. When my mother told me, she was holding the painting I painted.


You know, when my mother was leaving my place, she went to say the Bye-bye to the lion head on the knocker I painted, just like saying goodbye to an old friend.


Painting has the ability to recall memories and share personal experiences. That's great!

PJQ 2020/02/28

Occasionally, people ask me do I have an art exhibition, I told these people I have had some art exhibitions in the past, but nowadays I have an art exhibition of my work online 24 hours every day instead. This practice has been around for a long time. It can reach out to more people and it is more cost-effective. Any interested buyer can consult and buy paintings directly through the Internet. Pay online and ship worldwide. For those who like to view the works, they can make a private appointment to view them in the studio of my house.

Drawing and painting lessons for adults in Singapore.

Painting and sketching/drawing lessons with Singapore artist Prabhakara Jimmy Quek are available for beginner and for those who wish to improve his/her painting skill and techniques. Location is at Tampines at the artist’s studio. Small group or one-on-one sessions are available. Each person would progress at his level. Anyone interested to learn acrylic painting (at all level) or drawing could join anytime as long as there is a vacancy in any of the sessions.

Course No. 1: Acrylic Painting for Beginner
Course No. 2: Acrylic Painting for Improver
Course No. 3: Painting with the artist and
Course 4: Basic Sketch / Drawing Lessons.

Visit www.pabha.com/artclass.htm for details and booking.

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