Calming Stress With Colors
Since 2016 there has been a rise in adults using coloring books for stress regulation and calming the mind. Nielsen Bookscan covers around 85% of the US print book market, and in one year, from 2014 to 201,5, US sales shot up from 1 million to 12 million coloring books in the last year. Since then,n the rate of book sales has continued to rise, and coloring books have been implemented in more adult therapy sessions and wellness activities.
In the book Body Keeps the Score, the amygdala is described as a group of cells in the middle of the brain next to the hippocampus that processes emotion and is used in memory functioning. According to research, when the amygdala is triggered, it starts the flight or fight process, and if the amygdala is damaged, that response can be triggered due to trauma. This not only impacts the mind itself but also significantly affects our bodies.
According to Harvard Health, pivotal moments can pinpoint the start of a stress response. Some of the important body changes are below:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shallow breathing
- Stomach ache
- Increase blood pressure
- Extreme fatigue
When the amygdala is activated in situations that require hypervigilance, such as looking to see if one is being followed, that is helpful. Your body is looking to focus on keeping you safe, but when the amygdala is damaged and constantly triggered, that tires the body and becomes exhausting. This is why activities such as coloring can help regulate and calm the body by making the amygdala slow down. Coloring also helps with sleep and decreases body aches and heart racing.
Try coloring throughout the day or before bed to destress and help calm the flight and fight responses. Be sure also to seek a professional counselor or therapist if you need more assistance to deescalate your stress.
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