Colourful calm: colouring as the new form of meditation

In a welcome throwback to our collective childhoods, neuroscience is unveiling the potential of colouring-in to reduce stress, foster creativity and enhance the brain’s performance.

But before we rush to the stationery aisle to splurge on pastel crayons, we had to ask ourselves (and the experts): does it really work?

According to neuroscientist and psychologist of over 30 years Dr Stan Rodski, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ – providing it’s done right.

“For many years, executives I had been seeing for stress had great difficulty applying the techniques of breathing or meditation in a sustained way. It appeared they needed to find a way to relax without closing their eyes,” says Rodski.
“Meditation is a wonderful tool and I am a great advocate, but it’s not for everyone. Colouring provides three things the brain craves: repetition, pattern and focus or control. When this exists, we feel calmer and more relaxed.”
Just 20 minutes a day of the right kind of colouring, says Dr Rodski, can have us sleeping better and feeling more energised.

“What we have come to appreciate is that in our digitised world, our brain is nearly always turned on with little relief to recharge,” says Rodski.

“We call this cerebral overload and it’s easily seen when you are in front of your computer and you find yourself reading the same line three times and it just doesn’t make sense, or when an answer to a question is just too hard and you know it shouldn’t be. Colouring is a technique that can be used to mitigate this. ”

The science behind adult colouring is complex but involves its ability to take the brain from the normal waking state of ‘beta brain waves’ to a more relaxed or meditative state of ‘alpha brain waves’. But it’s not just a matter of putting pen to paper. Dr Rodski says the patterns, shapes and colours used when colouring matter greatly to its benefits and results, as reflected in his new colouring book Brain-Science: Colourtation the new meditation.

“The drawings are carefully designed and administrated. They contain repeated patterns and offer a controlled environment, as we ask readers to colour between the lines,” says Rodski.

“The final aspect was the need to reduce the competitive nature of ourselves which can cause tension and stress. With our geometric shapes, any colour can be used in any position: no tension is created by being wrong or right and it helps to kindle creativity even when we feel like we don’t have a ‘creative bone in our body’.”

Following his past work with elite sporting teams and many of Australia’s top 500 companies, Dr Rodski has most recently been applying his knowledge and experience to brain science research. With a particular research focus on improved sleep, stress and fatigue, and energy revitalisation and management, adult colouring has been offering phenomenal results.
“­When watching clients on EEG brain measurement machines, it is clear that colouring-in allows for focus on the task while also allowing the brain to relax,” says Rodski.
“I would recommend colouring to anyone who, on a given day, feels stressed and overwhelmed. It is easy to do and has so many proven health benefits.”

Dr. Rodski’s latest colouring book Brain-science is available now where all good books are sold. RRP $24.95 published by Hardie Grant Books. Find out more here:

Try Colourtation for yourself with these free downloadable spreads:

 Colourful calm - colouring as the new form of meditation - Australian Natural Health Magazine


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