Between the Lines
By Marian Connor
I was thinking about colouring in. One evening last week I spent several happy hours colouring in some prints I wanted to make into Christmas cards. As you know from my previous blogs, my childhood joy derived from cutting, sticking and making all manner of stuff has never left me, but colouring somewhat fell by the wayside, this evening was another reminder of how enjoyable it could be.
As we grow up, colouring is often considered to be a childish pursuit to be put away, and many of us will transfer the pleasure derived from colour related paraphernalia into the acquisition of neon highlighters and an endless variety of post-it notes and sticky book marks, all of which are mighty fine things but lack in the creativity department.
Several years back I was searching for blank mandalas that could be coloured in by my students, attending a stress management course, I wanted them to try it as a relaxation aid. Do you think I could find one? Oh no, not a colour free mandala in sight, I had to create my own.
Carl Jung who used the spontaneous drawings of mandalas in Jungian Therapy would have approved although I found it rather stressful, which kind of defeated the object. Whereas today I would be tripping over them, every conceivable thing you can imagine is now available to colour in.
“Making the simple complicated is common place. Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”
There had been a surge in the interest of colouring books, thought to have started in France it has spread far and wide. The sales of books designed for an adult audience has become big business with sales over the last few years rising by over 300% annually.
The act of colouring can relax and stimulate creativity. It activates the cerebral hemispheres involved with vision and fine motor skills, requiring good hand eye coordination, particularly when the design is complex. Because we need to focus on the activity we need to be in the moment and this is a good way to aid relaxation. The amygdala within the brain is an area involved with our fear response, this type of relaxation soothes the area, allowing it to rest briefly.
It is like a form of meditation allowing us to release feelings of stress and lower our anxiety levels, our breath slows along with our heart rates and allows our bodies to boost immune system functioning.
When we become adults the realities of life and knowledge can often hamper our childhood imagination. We need to pursue activities which nurture our creativity. This will help us solve problems by thinking outside the box and assist with the development if new ideas. Colouring could be one such activity.
For many years Art Therapy has been used as a tool for mental health, now with the resurgence of colouring activities we can all adapt one aspect of that therapy to help ourselves chill out and tune in.
“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvellous.”
Here is a clip from CBS This Morning about the benefits of colouring. Happy colouring in.
Image Tile/Header – Coloured Pencils from the 100’s of the same image on the internet.
YouTube – Why coloring books are no longer for kids by CBS This Morning. Duration 00:04:05
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