Many of us remember as children being fond of drawing and colouring books. I still have my Disney and Barbie colouring books, some of which I bought myself in my teens because I loved colouring and was obsessed with Barbie (still am a little obsessed with that doll). It was not until a year or two ago I started hearing about art therapy or colouring pages for adults as an effective anti-stress hobby. Of course there are lots of ways to use art as therapy, colouring is just one really great way as the colours we choose reflect our feelings in that moment. Art therapy in general is communication without words.
“…art therapy is based on the premise that visual symbols and images are the most accessible and natural form of communication to the human experience.” Read more: Art Therapy – Applications, Benefits – Feelings, Mental, Visual, and Artwork – JRank Articles http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/45/Art-Therapy.html#ixzz3jjMUlgzg
This summer I noticed art therapy colouring books had made it to Danish book and stationery shops so I bought one to try it out. Of course you do not have to buy a colouring book in a shop to try it out. Pinterest is a great place to find colouring pages for adults and children. I have gathered some of my favourites (free and not) on this board. Doing a Google search for “art therapy”, “colouring (or coloring) pages for adults” or “adult colouring ( or coloring) pages” can also turn up lots of sites where you can find motives that speak to you for printout. Adding the word “printable” or “printables” to your search is also a good idea both on Google and Pinterest as it usually turns up free stuff. Here is one great site I found: http://www.coloringpagesforadult.com/.
The difference between adult colouring pages and children’s colouring pages is that the motives are often more detailed, intricate and abstract for adults than for children and also themed for adults, although I am pretty sure children can have great fun colouring them as well. Some colouring pages features words, quotes and sayings that can reflect your current state of mind and feelings.
As mentioned in the beginning, art therapy can be a good way to relieve stress and that has always been my experience not just with colouring but with many other arts and crafts activities. I also find it a really nice way to play with colours. It may seem silly for a grown-up to be in to colouring pages but the benefits of art therapy far outweigh the silliness you and others may feel about it so do not be bothered by it if others cannot understand why you do it.
Art therapy is actually sometimes used as part of the treatment of psychological problems and if you, like me, like mystery/crime novels, series and documentaries you may have seen that police and other authorities use drawing as a way for children to talk about crimes they have witnessed. If it works on children then why should it not work on adults as well.
Besides stress relief, there are other benefits of art therapy that you may find interesting. Here is a list I found online while researching:
- Self-discovery. At its most successful, art therapy triggers an emotional catharsis (a sense of relief and wellbeing through the recognition and acknowledgement of subconscious feelings).
- Personal fulfillment. The creation of a tangible reward can build confidence and nurture feelings of self-worth. Personal fulfillment comes from both the creative and the analytical components of the process.
- Empowerment. Art therapy can help individuals visually express emotions and fears that they were never able to articulate through conventional means, and give them some sense of control over these feelings.
- Relaxation and stress relief. Chronic stress can be harmful to both mind and body. It can weaken and damage the immune system, cause insomnia and depression, and trigger a host of circulatory problems (e.g., high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and cardiac arrhythmia). When used alone or in combination with other relaxation techniques such as guided imagery, art therapy can be a potent stress reliever.
- Symptom relief and physical rehabilitation. Art therapy can also help individuals cope with pain and promote physiological healing by identifying and working through anger and resentment issues and other emotional stresses.
Of course these benefits are for all forms of art therapy. Colouring is just a really good activity for everyone to find stress relief through, and it is relatively inexpensive and does not require much space if that is a concern. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun creative anti-stress activity.