Stress…stress…stress! We all suffer from it, and while we’re worrying about the things we should be doing, and fretting because we never seem able to get round to it everything – the blood pressure keeps climbing.
Well stop! I’ve found the answer. At least it’s working for me, and it isn’t meditation or practising mindfulness.
The activity that helps to lock my stress away in its box is colouring. Adult colouring books. I love them.
The shelves in the bookshops seem to be full of them now, and they are rapidly ascending the lists of bestsellers on Amazon.
I’d seen colouring for grown ups mentioned on social media, but had never really taken the new trend seriously. I mean, colouring books! Isn’t that what five-year-olds do?
But when my favourite online mentor, Joanna Penn, started to write about the relaxing benefits of colouring, and described how she was a big fan, my interest was tweaked. Although I have to admit, not tweaked enough to actually go out and buy one of these books.
However fate took a hand when our Sunday newspaper arrived recently, and included a promotional pack of colouring designs. Since I already had a set of unused Sharpies, I decided to give it a try. And guess what? I loved it. It’s so moreish. It’s like having a whole bag of chocolate strawberry creams – one or two are never enough. Anyway, the colourful picture on the right of Kelvingrove Art Galleries,in Glasgow, is what I produced. Maybe not a work of art, but very satisfying.
And the nice thing is that while you are filling in all those little spaces and concentrating on not straying over the lines, your stress is melting away.
You really have to try this. It’s brilliant – and it works. You get to be artistically creative, even if, like me, you have absolutely no drawing or painting skills.
Some psychologists say colouring helps all kinds of mental disorders from binge eating to substance abuse issues. Well I don’t know about that, but for those of us who have too much to do and never enough time to do it all, spending a few minutes each day colouring is certainly calming. It requires just the right amount of concentration to keep you focused, but not enough to cause any pressure.
In a recent newspaper article, Drena Fagen, an art therapist and an adjunct instructor at New York University’s Steinhardt School, said she has actually used them in therapy sessions. Still, she makes a distinction between the books and therapy: “I don’t consider the colouring books as art therapy; I consider the colouring books therapeutic, which is not the same thing.”
Of course not everyone agrees that adult colouring-in books are the latest weapon against stress and anxiety, but if you give it a go, and it works for you, then that is all that matters. Enjoy!
Have a great week everyone.