I've written before about my long term battle with depression. Unfortunately, I just happen to be one of many people who are affected by the condition. Part and package of dealing with life these days seems to be a large amount of stress for everyone, especially when also trying to manage a mental illness that causes a large amount of anxiety during, what many people would consider, everyday tasks. I've always found activities such as drawing, colouring and painting relaxing and a great distraction from the real world and it seems that a lot of people are beginning to agree. In fact, the influx of art therapy colouring books targeted to the adult market that have hit the shelves within the last 6 months is astounding.
The reason art therapy and adult colouring in particular are so effective is because they allow you to become completely immersed within the activity. Colouring is something that you do quietly that requires no thought other than which colour you might use next. Although you may not notice it happening at the time, this allows your brain to take a deep breath. Simple tasks are one of the most well recognised ways to achieve a calm mind as they stimulate the brain enough to keep it from wandering to things that you don't want to dwell on, yet don't over stretch your mental capability. Interestingly (or at least, I find it interesting!) Tetris is also used in a very similar way to help those dealing with extreme trauma. Combining this calm with the satisfaction felt at creating something beautiful, you have the recipe for a very healthy mind state.
You can now buy colouring books covering a wide range of subjects such as birds, flowers, animals, mandalas, stained glass windows, scenery, insects and make believe worlds so it is totally possible for everyone to find something that they are drawn to.
Of all of the books that I have seen, my top recommendations would be the Art Therapy book photographed above *find here*, the Colour Therapy book *find here* and the Creative Therapy book *find here* all of which contain beautiful, specially designed pages to colour and doodle without feeling remotely childish.
Have you tried any of these books? What are your thoughts on Art Therapy? Would you give it a go?