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Colouring in seems to slow your breathing rate, interrupts
ruminating thinking and focuses your attention
The other day I came across a post about a new way to reduce stress.
To be fair, it's not literally a new way: it's just an activity that
most of us probably haven't done in a while. Like years, or even
decades. And back then, we probably didn't even know what stress was.
It's colouring in!
According to The Guardian
women are really embracing it. This trend has even resulted in
the development of adult-designed colouring in books so you don't
upset your children by "borrowing" theirs. And what are
people colouring in exactly? The pictures tend to be garden and
psychedelic images with mandalas also being popular choices.
Research shows that structured colouring in seems to slow your
breathing rate, interrupts ruminating thinking and focuses your
attention, creating a sense of calm. Even individuals who've found
meditating difficult have found picking up their pencils or crayons
and ensuring they stay between the lines helps them reduce their
anxiety and find stillness. And it goes beyond just being a solitary
activity - there are Facebook communities established that connect
people who find this strategy helpful as well as allowing them a place
to share their latest art work.
Why am I telling you this? October is National Mental Health Month.
Almost half of Australians will experience mental health issues during
our lives and one in five will experience them in any given year. And
for TAFE students, a bit of colouring in therapy may be all you need
to keep the stress of approaching yearly exams at bay (but definitely
not as a replacement to studying).
Our lives are often intensely busy and we're often amazingly good at
making and honouring commitments to many other people in our lives.
Unfortunately we can also tend to be good at letting ourselves off the
hook when it comes to looking after ourselves. So this month
we're asked to make a promise to ourselves to
commit to an activity that looks after our mental wellbeing.
Maybe you'll decide to colour in mandalas. Or you might commit to
turning off your electronic devices for an hour a day. Or perhaps
you'll promise to talk to a friend the next time things start to get
you down. Everyone's different, so find a promise that works for
you that will contribute to your wellbeing.
Check out the Top
Ten Tips to Help Maintain Mental Wellbeing for suggestions if
you're stuck. Then make your Mental Health Promise and post it on the
Promise Wall at www.1010.org.au.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to buy some more crayons.