Life has become more stressful for many people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately for adults, they can understand why the world is changing and process things easily. Children, on the other hand, have to deal with a new normal without fully understanding why; which can lead to a lot of confusion and anxiety.
What Is Stress?
Common symptoms of stress can vary from person to person but the most common feelings include being tense, not being able to sleep properly due to your racing mind, headaches and tension in the neck and shoulders.
One way to help is mindfulness – the process of keeping your attention and thoughts on the present moment. While it’s a tricky concept to grasp, colouring is a great way to introduce mindfulness to the whole family.
How To Manage Your Stress
Managing your stress can be a challenge. It can feel overwhelming and start to affect other aspects of our health like our hearts, our moods, or sleep.
Many of us subconsciously doodle or colour during meetings or whilst on the phone but did you know that colouring has hidden benefits for people of all ages?
The Benefits Of Colouring For Adults
Although colouring is typically an activity we do as children, there are numerous benefits associated with colouring in adulthood. A number of key studies show that spending time colouring has real health benefits.
1. Colouring can help you to de-stress
One of the first scientists to study the therapeutic benefits of colouring for adults was Carl Jung, who studied the colouring of mandalas in the 1920s. He found that his patients became calmer and experienced less stress as they coloured in the circles and geometric patterns.
2. Colouring is like meditation
Meditation is the art of doing nothing, of relaxing your mind and achieving mindfulness. Mindfulness is the mental state achieved by focusing purely on the present moment while accepting and acknowledging your thoughts and feelings. Colouring helps to induce the same meditative state, relaxing the mind and making a person more mindful.
3. Colouring can help to improve your sleep
We all get a better night’s sleep when we don’t use electronics at night BUT quite often we need to ‘do’ something to help us to switch off from our busy lives. Colouring is a relaxing pastime, which won’t disturb your melatonin levels, giving you more chance of drifting peacefully off to the land of nod.
4. Colouring can help to displace negative emotions
Many of us are guilty of over thinking and dwelling on things that we can’t change. Whilst colouring isn’t going to bring about world peace or pay your gas bill, it is proven that because colouring requires you to focus on the task in hand, the negative emotions are slowly replaced with positive ones.
5. Colouring helps to bring back happy childhood memories
We all spent many hours colouring when we were little. It’s fun, it’s easy and it’s something that we could do out and about or at home. The same is true as an adult.
The Benefits Of Colouring For Children
Anyone can feel stressed, including our children. Colouring can help them to channel some of their stress as well as being a fun activity.
1. Supporting the development of hand-strength
Writing takes strength and dexterity and colouring helps to build these muscles. As adults, it’s easy to forget that we have been writing, colouring and typing for years – all things that help to maintain (and rely on) good hand strength. Preschool children and toddlers are just starting to develop these muscles so colouring is the perfect exercise to help.
2. Helping to establish good pencil grip
A good pencil grip is part strength and part practice. By colouring, children are doing both – developing their hand strength and practicing their pencil grip.
3. Encouraging self-expression and creativity
What colours should they use? Will they draw some shapes on the pages too? Will the colours be bright or dark? Colouring and drawing like this often encourages children to express themselves and their emotions - particularly if they don’t yet have the vocabulary to express themselves verbally.
4. Improving fine motor coordination
Most tasks that we carry out on a daily basis such as writing, typing and brushing our hair require fine motor skills; the ability to coordinate small muscles (for example in the hand) in movements, with the eyes. Colouring is fantastic to develop these skills further.
5. Helping to teach children how to focus on tasks
Focus is an incredibly important skill for children to learn. It’s what helps us to see through tasks from start to finish, vital for both academic and future professional careers. As your child’s focus improves they will spend more time - and take more care - when colouring their picture in.
Colouring is a gentle way to train the brain to carefully and methodically move through tasks. The emphasis on small details develops single-pointed concentration, which is excellent preparation for the return to school.
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