At MiNDFOOD we’ve been staunch advocates of colouring-in for quite some time now – you’ll find a colouring-in page in every issue of the magazine.
And while it has long been assumed that the adult colouring-in craze has therapeutic benefits, a new study by psychology researchers at the University of Otago, New Zealand has found that the trend has mental health benefits including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The study, published in the Creativity Research Journal, had participants (115 women aged 18 to 36 years old), complete an inventory to measure depressive symptoms, stress, anxiety, flourishing, resilience and mindfulness. The group then participated in a 1-week intervention of daily colouring-in or logic puzzles such as Sudoku. At the end of the intervention, the participants were again assessed for mental health symptoms.
Those who had participated in the colouring-in showed significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety after the intervention. Both groups reported feeling more mindful.
The researchers concluded that daily colouring-in can improve some negative psychological outcomes and it may provide an effective, inexpensive and highly accessible self-help tool.
Lead author Jayde Flett told The Guardian “that further needed to be answered to discover how and why colouring-in was effective.”
“It is often suggested that colouring-in induces a mindful or meditative state and is linked to reduced activity in the amygdala or changes in brain-wave activity,” said Flett.
“But we showed that mindful activity wasn’t the driving factor of change because people who did the puzzles also became more mindful.”
Grab a copy of MiNDFOOD’s very own colouring-in book here or pick up the latest issue for our regular colouring-in page.