Using colouring as a method of relaxation to relieve stress and tension

Colouring as therapy

In a space of amplified social and professional pressures, it is not surprising that the popularity of stress-relieving activities has increased and almost 10% of the nation are on prescription antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication (as of July 2015). However it seems that there is a new fad this year to compete with your weekly yoga class; colouring books.

Some of you may roll your eyes and wave away the plausibility of ‘colouring-in’ as a legitimate practice of stress-relief, but it seems to have good results. Art therapy has been in practice for decades, but recent research in neuroscience has strengthened the belief that expressive creativity does have positive effects on mental health. Mindful meditation works by focusing the mind on one simple repetitive action. Usually one is introduced to the practice by concentrating on chanting a mantra or simply breathing; the calm and slow inhale and exhale motion becomes the mind’s primary focus, allowing any stressful thoughts or concerns to dissipate and allowing the body to enter a state of relaxation. It seems that the act of colouring works in much the same way, and without the risk of inadvertently falling asleep.

Some of you may roll your eyes and wave away the plausibility of ‘colouring-in’ as a legitimate practice of stress-relief

Focusing the mind on patterns and colour variations through the recurring act of brushing a pen or pencil across paper creates a hypnotic sense of calm, much like that induced by meditation. The conscious mind is focused, any existing anxieties seem less pervasive and the subconscious is released and free to wander. I have been given several of these books, and as someone who has tried various forms of meditation, this is by far the most efficient relaxation method for me. I’ve come up with many an essay plan whilst shading in a petal or leaf, so would definitely encourage you to brush any cynicism aside and give it a go.


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