Anti-Stress Colouring Books for Adults Volume 1

Colouration image courtesy of Buzzfeed

Anyone trundling into a bookstore lately, or scrolling on etsy, has seen the explosion of colouring-in books aimed at adults.

Perhaps originally dismissed as a ‘hipster’ phenomenon, this past-time has attracted raised eyebrows, as well as pencils.

But for art therapists who use colour and art to soothe and de-stress their clients, it’s not a surprise at all.

Psychologist Dr Stan Rodski and illustrator Jack Dowling have trotted out the ‘Colouration Anti-Stress’ colouring book series for adults.

They explain their approach in fairly simple terms:

“The reasons why sometimes the brain doesn’t switch gears by itself when it should are not yet fully understood. However, we have made significant advances in helping the brain to ‘switch gears’. This book is designed to help you do just that. Brain studies show us that when under pressure we can ‘manually’ change ‘gears’. By focusing on the task of ‘colouring between the lines’ we can change our ‘brainwaves’ from being in a continual state of ‘BETA’ (pressured and stresses) to a more relaxed state of ‘ALPHA’.”

Colourtation – how does it work?

This kind of transition is important so we don’t burn-out, and also to help us along the flow to deep, restorative sleep (Delta waves).

Also, it helps promote ‘playfulness’ in adults, which recent publishings in The American Journal of Play found correlate with academic and reproductive success, stress reduction, and innovative performance at work.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, HR departments at Bupa, Wesfarmers and ANZ bank are on board and are equipping staff with the books to keep them less frazzled.

As ANZ’s head of HR Kerri Harris told The Age: “I think we are all finding that the work environment is getting busier than ever with technology changing the way we work and are connected to the office… Personally, I have got a lot out of such a simple resource as it enables me to relax and change gears when required”.

Other colouring books have also aimed at getting to sleep and mindfulness with the same goal in mind for its users; colour, stay in the lines, focus, forget your woes!

Johanna Basford’s ‘Enchanted Forest’ topped the US Amazon booklist this year.

And the popularity is huge; Johanna Basford’s ‘Secret Garden’ and sequel ‘Enchanted Forest’ colouring book topped the Amazon booklist this year.

For people who want something a bit more light-hearted, there’s colouring books for rappers, tattooists, and even The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Sharpen those pencils!

In an exciting ‘first’, Bupa and University College London (UCL) have announced a new collaboration called the Global Institute for Digital Health Excellence (GLIDHE).

The project will combine Bupa’s global health expertise with UCL’s research capabilities to form solutions to the growing pressures on healthcare systems globally.

The project will act as a test bed for new innovations in sustainable digital health tools which help people look after their health.

It’s an intelligent partnership that allows Bupa to fund PhD and MSc students to carry out research that will have lasting – and scientifically ‘proven’ results.

Director of the UCL Centre for Behaviour Change Professor Susan Michie has said: “GLIDHE is an extremely exciting initiative in the field of behaviour change. The project’s digital initiatives will provide us with unprecedented scale and scope, not only to improve people’s health, but to learn what works and continually improve what we are offering.”

Read more about it here.


The recently established University College London Centre for Behavioural Change is an exciting new area to explore for marketers – and more specifically pro-social marketers.

Experts from NHS Health and the UK’s Behaviour Change research funding bodies agree that the worlds between private and public sectors need to converge to make the urgent and eagerly-awaited Behavioural Change research applied, relevant and scalable.

Cue UCL, whose Centre for Behavioural Change could provide a perfect nexus for big brands to source an academic rigour to campaigns that help drive social change across important social areas such as sustainable environment (for example by encouraging recycling), preventative healthcare (such as encouraging exercise and health screening checks), and responsible financial behaviour (for example contributing to your pension), preventing domestic violence and more.

Think of the benefits that might be reached more quickly in these important areas if the money (and reach) of big brands got involved to consistently bring that message to consumers’ front of mind in the ad-breaks between their favourite shows, or even during the Super Bowl.

It seems a ripe opportunity for forward-thinking people in business and academia to stay close to.

Watch this space and this UCL presentation on Delivering Change for Society here.

Ultraviolet’s Super Bowl ad. ‘Credit to for the image.

In what seems like a tirade of response, big brands are rising to call attention to a long-stifled problem in human rights; domestic violence.

Domestic violence is estimated to affect 30% of women globally, with 2 women killed every week in the UK by an intimate partner. In Australia, it’s 1 woman every week – a statistic that has led domestic violence campaigner Rosie Beatty (2015’s Australian of the Year) – to draw attention to this urgent and disturbing issue.

In Turkey, it’s estimated a shocking 50% of women experience domestic abuse. So in response, Vodafone Turkey, with their local agency Y&R Team Red, developed an innovative way to reach at-risk female domestic violence victims. At times of threat, women can shake the Vodafone “Red Light” app alerting three contacts for help, and hopefully saving their lives. The most creative part was to reveal this aid to women only via heated Veet wax strips and YouTube female targeted ads to ensure usage quickly spread to the most at-risk groups.

And then last week, at the annual ad-binge that is the US Super Bowl, audiences weren’t talking about the plays, but instead about the team’s recent issues with domestic violence. In a hefty statement equal rights group Ultraviolet and Sports Illustrated launched the #GoodellMustGo campaign showing a violently crash-tackled woman. Not bad for an ad that was originally rejected.

But nothing could prepare the tuned-in crowds for the NFL’s own ‘No More’ official Super Bowl ad which aired during the game on YouTube. It’s been picked up globally by titles like The Economist, the Guardian, CNN, Fortune, Rolling Stone and many more, highlighting the disturbing content, which more shockingly is based on a real life story. Watch it here.

All this media attention makes us more aware. More awareness leads to more conversation. And talking about issues like domestic violence helps to break the awful silence for victims that allows it to continue.

To the credit of brands like Vodafone, Sports Illustrated and NFL, it shows that brands have a powerful opportunity to make a long-lasting impression on millions of people who care about things that last longer than the final play of the ball.

Who will be the next brand to be brave enough to step up to the plate?

Nielsen Neuro Labs headset

Nielsen Neuro Labs’ consumer neuroscience and neuro marketing team has some interesting developments for anyone in marketing wanting to get a better edit on their content.

The Labs teams’ Fourier One headset is powered by electroencephalography (EEG) technology and is able to measure your audience’s neural responses to content via the brainwaves of your grey matter.

This means that now you can edit out the ‘boring bits’, (as captured by your yawning consumer’s alpha waves), and show the most effective area to put your call to action for maximum recall using eye-tracking technology.

This is the way to do “surgical content” says by Nielsen Neuro Labs president Joe Willke, and is certainly a groundbreaking development for achieving optimised brand experiences in emotion, memory and attention for digital and TV content.

This could revolutionise your marketing in product packing, in-store comms, and more. Find more information about Nielsen Neuro Labs here.



Full rights and credits to the content extracted here from Dr Vasily Klucharev. For more information please head to


Have you ever wondered why you like your favourite restaurant?

At the sight of it alone, your brain does into overdrive releasing its favourite yummy drug, dopamine.

This key ingredient helps our brain know what we like, what we choose to buy/do/eat etc, activating reward pathways and helping us remember and learn each time what we like and don’t like.

But how?

Dopamine neurons helps us to know our predicted utility – i.e. based on your past experiences, what you expect to get out of a good meal at your favourite restaurant. Is it the wine? Is it the food? Is it the waiter/ress??

However, when that’s interrupted, or the cue isn’t as we expected, (for example if we experience bad food, or poor service) then we encounter  a prediction error signal – a readjustment – and our brain learns. See the red lines above.

We learn not to go back there next time expecting the same quality meal.

So it’s quite nifty really. Dopamine helps us to modify our expectations and consequently change our behaviour, allowing us to learn to make different – and maybe better – decisions next time we see our favourtite restaurant, so we also don’t keep making the same mistakes.

decision making process in the brain

Full rights and credits to the content extracted here from Dr Vasily Klucharev. For more information please head to


Full rights and credits to the content extracted here from Dr Vasily Klucharev’s course ‘Introduction to Neuroeconomics; how the brain makes decisions’ through the National Research University Russia. Available now as an online learning course through For more information please head to


neuroeconomics car purchasing decisions

Full rights and credits to the content extracted here from Dr Vasily Klucharev. For more information please head to


In this mini-series of Neuroeconomics, we look at purchasing decisions of consumers and how the activity in the brain can predict purchasing behaviour.

While some of us may think we don’t want a car, let alone car what type we’d choose, Susan Erk’s study in 2002 showed that in fact many of us can have extreme car category preference wether we know the exact brand name or not.

In the study she asked male subjects to rate different categories of cars – sportscars, limousines and small cars.

The brain activity of the Nucleus Accumbens (see below) was found to correlate directly to the car category preference; the more the brain reacted, the more they liked the ‘sportscar’, and the inverse was true for the least liked ‘small car’.

car category

Full rights and credits to the content extracted here from Dr Vasily Klucharev. For more information please head to


The category of product alone was enough to strongly activate the NA part of the brain, and signal a specific purchase decision, regardless of the lack of a specific brand to consider.

This is an interesting insight into the potential powerful effects of marketing to associate values to general items and spur a purchase decision within a category alone. How much value do “luxury” brands need to carry if the category itself can carry them so far?


Full rights and credits to the content extracted here from Dr Vasily Klucharev’s course ‘Introduction to Neuroeconomics; how the brain makes decisions’ through the National Research University Russia. Available now as an online learning course through For more information please head to



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