In a welcome throwback to our collective childhoods, neuroscience is unveiling the potential of colouring-in to reduce stress, foster creativity and enhance the brain’s performance.
But before we rush to the stationery aisle to splurge on pastel crayons, we had to ask ourselves (and the experts) — does it really work?
According to neuroscientist and psychologist of over 30 years Dr Stan Rodski, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ – providing it’s done right.
“For many years, executives I had been seeing for stress had great difficulty applying the techniques of breathing or meditation in a sustained way. It appeared they needed to find a way to relax without closing their eyes,” says Rodski. “Meditation is a wonderful tool and I am a great advocate, but it’s not for everyone. Colouring provides three things the brain craves: repetition, pattern and focus or control. When this exists, we feel calmer and more relaxed.”
Just 20 minutes a day of the right kind of colouring, says Dr Rodski, can have us sleeping better and feeling more energised. “What we have come to appreciate is that in our digitized world, our brain is nearly always turned on with little relief to recharge,” says Rodski.
The unlikely pastime for those of us who have successfully graduated from kindergarten has been gaining popularity of late, as an easy means to express oneself and de-stress along the way. And who doesn’t like the idea of colouring as one of the best stress-busting activities!!! I know I do!
The activity not only provides a low-stress, low-stakes way to unlock your creative potential, it also unlocks memories of simpler, childhood times, when the biggest cause of anxiety was how to avoid your next nap. Coloring really does work as an excellent stress-buster, as psychologist Antoni Martínez explained to the Huffington Post. “We can use it to enter into a more creative, freer state. I recommend it in a quiet environment, even with chill music. Let the colour and the lines flow.”
Basically, if you are looking for a way to find your inner zen while also exploring your artistic side, look no further. Colouring books are here to help. Your 5-year-old self would be so proud.