Battling stress at work or personal life? Spending some time with colouring books may help, says a recent study. Coloring books can work almost as efficiently as an actual art therapy and leave a lasting impact on your mood.
"The main takeaway is that colouring has some limited benefits like reducing stress and negative mental states," said one of the researchers Girija Kaimal, Assistant Professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, US.
"But it does not shift anything else of substance, develop relationships, nor result in any personal development," Kaimal added.
The study also noted that colouring alone does have some positive effect, whether or not it is as potent as art therapy is stil
The research published in the Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal ran two, separate 40-minute exercises, one consisting of pure colouring and the other involving direct input from an art therapist. The researchers examined the differences in significant differences in mood and stress levels of both the groups. Every participant -- ranging in age from 19 to 67 -- took part in each exercise.
In the pure colouring exercise, the participants were made to colour in a pattern or design. Although an art therapist was in the room, they did not interact with the person colouring.
Meanwhile in the second exercise, participants were put in an "open studio" situation, where an art therapist was present and able to facilitate the session, interact with the participants. He also provided guidance and support to process the experience and artwork. The participants made any type of art they wished, whether it involved colouring, sketching, doodling, or working with modeling clay.
The art therapists created art as well, and were available to assist the participants if they asked for it.
A set of standardized surveys were taken by each participant before and after their sessions that ranked their stress levels and feelings. Perceived stress levels went down by at roughly the same levels for both exercises - 10 per cent for colouring; 14 percent for open studio. The study also pointed at the decline of negative mental states which also showed similar decreases in levels. Roughly a seven per cent decrease for colouring; six per cent for open studio, the study said.
The art therapists' open studio sessions resulted in "more empowerment, creativity and improved mood, which are significant for individuals striving to improve their quality of life and make lasting change", Kaimal said.
The actual art therapists have often claimed that that true art therapy is about growth and relationships and not simply about "feeling better." Hence the therapy has to include much more than just coloring books. The experience has to be wholesome and enriching.
Stress can take a toll on your daily activities and physical health. Here are some foods that you can eat to beat stress naturally too.
Lentils are power packed with vitamin B which is known to reduce fatigue and tiredness. It also helps fire up your energy levels.
Bananas are rich in vitamin C which is an effective stress fighting nutrient. It also helps repair cell damage caused due to stress.
Yogurt is packed with calcium which is a great source of slashing stress. It also has good bacteria that kill anxiety and depression. So don't forget to add more yogurt to your diet.
Coconut contains medium chain fats that improve our mental health and infuse positivity. The scent of the coconut is known to have a psychological effect that helps reduce anxiety and slows out heart rate.
(With Inputs IANS)