Colouring was probably an activity you enjoyed as a child. The current popularity of adult colouring books celebrates a return to encouraging our creativity, and embracing the sense of calmness that colouring can offer.
5 Reasons to colour:
- Colouring reduces stress. The mental focus which is required when colouring pictures – selecting colours, staying inside the lines, considering balance – can induce a meditative-like state. The heart rate is reduced and breathing becomes more calm. The repetitive nature of colouring calms even the busiest minds. Try it for just 10 minutes a day (with no distractions) and check how you feel afterwards.
- Colouring in helps to deny the aging process. Both physically and emotionally. It is good for you emotionally to play occasionally, and colouring is a form of such play. Additionally colouring helps to maintain manual dexterity, which is essential to growing older gracefully.
- Colouring is a break-out-of-the box creativity booster. Break out of any creativity rut using colouring. Even if you do not think of yourself as an artist, simply selecting colours and designs helps to unleash a heightened connection to your ability to think creatively. Be ready for new ideas!
- Better brains. Colouring helps to develop greater skills of concentration and focus. Furthermore, both hemispheres of the brain are engaged, giving your brain a good ‘workout’.
- Take a mini-break. Colouring is not a form of art therapy, but it can be used in therapy as a tool to help calm and centre a person, even if you are feeling ok at the moment. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive tendancies, or difficulties managing stress, psychological research supports the use of colouring as a part of the therapeutic process.
You may also be wondering when is the best time to start colouring. There really isn’t a bad time to try colouring as a calming technique. I recommend that you give it a try the next time you are stressed, pressured, or feeling run down. At those times, a colouring activity should help you to collect yourself. You might also consider colouring before your bedtime. Since watching TV and playing on devices has been associated with poorer sleep patterns, colouring could create a more relaxed mind-set, setting you up for a deeper, more refreshing night’s sleep.
I challenge you to try this – take up colouring for 10 minutes each day, and see what if can achieve for you.
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Angela Watkins is a psychologist and counsellor at RED DOOR Counselling in Hong Kong. Her current clinical work focuses on parenting, family life, parenting SEN children, anxiety, OCD, career change, stress management and divorce.