Posted on November 18 2018
By Nancy Beliveau:
Like many people, I was looking for a way to meditate and relax without having to go to a meditation class or yoga class. Art has always been a part of my life.
Discovering that coloring is not only fun but it’s really good for you
Most of my life has involved work in different types of artistic endeavors from murals for children's bedrooms to painting canvases, to creating greeting cards, building artistic birdhouses—even digital animation. But last year I discovered an article on coloring for adults which rocked my world. From there I found many other articles, news videos, and studies about the benefits of coloring. The message is always the same: when you practice coloring, it inspires wellness, quietness and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity. I was pleasantly surprised to see the positive feedback from the people who practice this new form of meditation.
“When you practice coloring, it inspires a sense of well-being, and stimulates the brain in miraculous ways.”
I wanted to share this experience, with as many people as possible, using what I’ve learned from a lifetime of creating art. So, I’ve created a website, you-color.com, with a different approach to coloring. Not only you can use the free images to color and relax but you can also make a project out of it.
Creating a less stressful and happier life
We are living in a stressful society where it's all about producing and getting things done. We’re always up against deadlines to achieve our tasks and projects. Coloring is shown to be a simple way to meditate and get your focus back. I just want to add the opportunity for someone to create and/or give as a gift the idea of relaxing while creating.
New York-based clinical psychologist Dr. Ben Michaelis says that the fact that coloring is structured, it activates the logic part of the brain, and generates a creative mindset.
“Experts on mental health use coloring as a therapy to give our brains a rest from fear and stress”
“Because it’s a centering activity, the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that is involved with our fear response, actually gets a bit, a little bit of a rest,” Michaelis said, “and it ultimately has a really calming effect over time.” Not only does he prescribe coloring, but Michaelis even uses coloring books with his own family. “We do it on Fridays as a way to kind of take the steam out of the week,” he said, “and also when my kids are kind of fighting or the temperature is starting to rise a bit in the house”
Psychologists and experts on mental anxiety are even using coloring for patients to get them to relax... '' The health benefits go beyond relaxation and include exercising fine motor skills and training the brain to focus. Doctors have known about these benefits since the early 1900s. Psychiatrist Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, prescribed coloring to his patients to calm and center their minds. Doctors today continue to follow Jung’s lead and still recommend the activity to combat anxiety.'' See how being open about anxiety can help.
Businesses discover that coloring in the office provides relief from mental overload
Another example, found in the video from Fox health news, Jason Abrams, 30, is an account manager at North 6th Agency, a New York City-based public relations firm. High anxiety and the hectic schedule of the deadline-driven job left him needing a way to cope with the stress. He got hooked on using coloring books as a relaxing exercise— he even sparked a trend in his office. Every Friday afternoon they have coloring sessions in their conference room, to help relieve the stress.
The trend has spread nationwide as adult coloring books are popping up on bestseller lists, and major publishers are producing the books in droves, with titles like The Mindfulness Coloring Book, Splendid Cities, The Time Garden, and Color Me Calm.
Some people have come up with a social way to color and meet with friends.... for example, once a month, Heidi Johnson, a member of the Ladies Coloring Club in New Hope, Minnesota, finds herself unwinding with the group when they meet for cocktails and coloring. And there’s no need to worry about staying in the lines, Johnson said.
“You don’t have to be an expert at the DIY project, or a painter or an artist,” she said. “You can just pick something you like that speaks to you and color it however you want it.”
Sharing something personal
I have found that personal creations can be very special for the person you are giving it to... so that is why I came up with little courses on how you can create these designs yourself or to choose how you want to color it and on what you would like to see it. Even if you choose a design already made, you chose the colors and you chose what you wanted the design to be on... If for example, you choose a design and decide to apply it on a canvas, the person you give it to can color it/paint it or you can color it/paint it and give it to them.
I love colored sharpies!!! They are bright colors and they don't smudge or if the paper is wet it doesn't affect the colors. For sharpies, you need a paper that doesn’t spread the ink which you can find tablets of these kinds of papers for a small fee at Walmart or any art stores. You can also use wax coloring crayons, wood crayons, even paint if you feel like it. Just choose the right kind of paper especially for paint, ink or felt. As for paint, you can also use a canvas. You simply choose a design then apply it on a canvas (whatever size you want) prepares the canvas for you ...and you can have it delivered and start painting inside the lines. You can choose or inspire yourself with different ideas of color scheme to create your work; then proudly expose it in your home or give it as a gift.
All my designs are hand-made...I am not a machine so there will be some little mistakes but I find this is what makes the design even more special because it's not perfect.
I also give information on some of the designs so that there is a learning aspect on the website. For example, I explain what a Geisha is and what it represents in the Japanese culture...or I write the word ' PEACE ' in different languages so that we can spread the word. I love learning and I always find it interesting to learn things so I thought that you might also like to know that extra information... You can also submit your own words from your own languages and express what it means and also inform the audience of historical or culture as a sharing place... That way, we can know more about our world with all its cultures and diversity...
I wish you serenity and a great experience with my website. I hope I can give you a platform to create and or just relax and enjoy. Don't forget to look into some of the tutorials for ideas or to create your own designs... and quotes. Take care!