Colouring away your stress isn’t child’s play

Bushcare 'good for health' as well as the environment
Sydney 2000

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702 ABC Sydney


Amanda Hoh


November 10, 2016 14:04:47

Colouring is a relaxing activity that has been found to reduce anxiety. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
It is one of the basic coordination skills instilled in toddlers and children, and an activity that a group of Sydney women are returning to as a way to “de-stress”.Each month Jane Broadbere, a librarian at Mosman Library, hosts adult colouring classes for local residents.”We started it looking for something to do for Adult Learners’ Week last year,” she said.”Colouring books were at the top seller’s list so we thought, why not try a colouring group for adults?”Sometimes there’s complete silence as we concentrate on our colouring, but there’s also a lot of talk too.”

Jane Broadbere says the adult colouring classes have become a social experience. gives me peace of mind for the rest of the day.” — Cynthia RansfordOne Mosman resident, who did not want her name published, said she started colouring after her husband died. I colour before I go to bed, I sleep better.” — Lindy Green”I enjoy colouring because it relaxes me and it just frees my mind … Colouring in. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
The classes have been both a cathartic and social experience for many of the women who attend.”It’s comforting, there’s no decision making, it’s easy. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
“Adult colouring was one of the things suggested as a stress breaker,” she said.”It’s mindless, enjoyable, and at the end you can just sit back and think ‘that’s rather nice’.”Studies confirm colouring reduces anxietyA 2015 study from the University of New England found that art-making activities, like colouring, significantly decreased anxiety in college-aged students prior to their exams.Another study published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association in 2012 found that “colouring a mandala reduces anxiety to a significantly greater degree than colouring on a plaid design or colouring on a blank paper”.Currently there are at least 10 adult colouring books listed on the UK’s Book Depository best sellers list, while consumer comparison site has Johanna Basford’s Lost Ocean adult colouring book listed as one of the top 10 books for 2016.Basford’s first colouring book, Secret Garden, has sold 11 million copies worldwide.The Mosman class has recently been colouring Bollywood-themed pictures like floral mandalas and decorative animal figures.”It’s therapeutic for people,” Ms Broadbere said.”We can colour in and it can look terrible, but it’s only a piece of paper and you can just throw it away.” Photo:
Many women have found colouring a calming and relaxing activity.