Did you colour as a child? How about as an adult?! Not so common. Despite how ubiquitous it was in childhood, adult colouring is a very new hobby that has gained in popularity dramatically just this decade. Believe it or the first research on using colouring as therapy seems to have started in the 1990s.
Colouring has a myriad of health benefits but one of the greatest is reducing anxiety and stress.
A 2012 study called “Can Coloring Mandalas Reduce Anxiety?” replicated a previous 2005 study by Curry and Kasser. It tested whether colouring a mandala would reduce anxiety. It involved first creating an anxious mood with a writing activity, then participants were randomly assigned to three groups that coloured either on a mandala design, on a plaid design, or on a blank paper. Anxiety level was measured with the State Anxiety Inventory at baseline, after the writing exercise, and again after the time colouring. Results support the hypothesis that colouring a mandala reduces anxiety to a significantly greater degree than colouring on a plaid design or colouring on a blank paper.
Interesting – it seems that what you colour counts. Anecdotally I can believe this. From my experience teaching drawing versus giving my colouring classes, I find that people find the prospect of drawing and starting from a blank page to be very stressful. On the other hand after a colouring session, I get feedback all the time: “I feel so relaxed”.
I case you’re wondering, a mandala is a generic term for a diagram or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically like a mini version of the universe. Clearly, I don’t draw mandalas. What I do is try to provide a link between a calm, clear mindset and the beauty of the external world with my illustrations and quotes or mantras. I wonder if this is helping? I hope so as I begin work on my colouring book. Aiming for June this year so I better get working so everyone can relax and de-stress!
If you are curious, try out a Doodle Colour Sip & Social or Coffee, Cake & Colour at Cafe Mila with me in Godalming.