There’s a colouring book for just about everything right now. Colouring has become a global phenomenon, stripped from the hands of babes of kindergarten classrooms, thrust into the hands of adults who need to unwind. From depression to anxiety, from stress management to supporting recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, colouring books are helping everyone out.
Colouring book themes range from famous franchises like Harry Potter to flowers, to animals, to bible verses. Don’t want to carry around a colouring book at a ton of colouring supplies? Don’t worry-there’s an app for that. For every touch screen smart device there is also now a colouring app to help you get that colouring in when you need it most.
Colouring was certainly fun in grade school and a novel treat in higher levels of education. Does colouring in colouring books really help with mental health? Art Therapy journal argues that colouring in colouring book is more effective than other therapeutic forms of colouring, like just freestyle drawing.
Their study found that colouring specific patterns created a better result than others. Mandalas, geometric patterns, plaids, and other structured complex patterns were best for reducing anxiety. According to the study, “colouring the symmetrical form of the mandala with its repeating patterns and complexity purportedly helps to draw individuals into a state similar to meditation.” Admittedly, the study states, colouring therapy is lacking in research. However, as the study explains, colouring “combines elements of art therapy (i.e., a colouring form) and meditation (i.e., deeply concentrating on an experience that is soothing).”
Meditation, as opposed to colouring, now comes with a wealth of scientific research supporting its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of mental health disorders. “Meditation, or the practice of calmly limiting attention and thought through the use of mental exercises (Smith, 1975), has also proven beneficial for anxiety,” the study cites.
Colouring also improves mindfulness practice. Mindfulness, as the study describes it is “awareness and attentiveness to the present moment”. Symptoms of mental health disorders like anxiety are improved through mindfulness practices by focusing on the present moment rather than the past or the future.
Aurora Recovery Centre lights the pathway to recovery from addiction and other mental health disorders. For more information on our treatment programs available to men and women seeking transformational recovery in their lives, call 1-844-515-STOP.