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