Adult colouring books help with depression
I was interviewed by the Scottish Sun about the adult colouring books designed by Aberdeenshire artist Johanna Basford, a pioneer of the adult colouring booka. They are a helpful contribution to the treatment of depression.
Some of the symptoms of depression are lack of motivation, not doing anything, no reason to get up in the morning and generally slowing down and losing interest. Many of us go to work, come home, watch telly and go to bed. As a society, we have forgotten that hobbies and interests are good for us. We are all very busy and life is more complex than it used to be, so wasting time doing something for our own pleasure, with no particular purpose or outcome, can feel indulgent - even sleeping! And depression is on the rise. I think there is a connection
Getting back to the colouring books! How can these adult colouring books help as part of the treatment of depression? When we focus intently on something, really get engrossed, like when you watch a film or read a great book, or enjoy time with friends, this is when we feel wonderful. The colouring books allow you to become totally focused. They take a lot of concentrated effort while you colour in the highly detailed images. You are thinking about the colours, taking care to do it well, and before you know it you are completely relaxed and enjoying it without even noticing. Time flies by. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is Professor of Psychology at Chicago University. He termed this deep focus as Flow and considered it a major source of happiness. The thing about motivation is that it comes after starting something. Doing something, anything, gets your motivation mojo working again.
The colouring books also make use of an important psychological characteristic. If we leave something undone at the end of the day, in the background our brains work on the topic. So in this case, you wake in the morning wanting to get back to the colouring. Jigsaws can have the same impact. But on the other hand, if you take a worry to bed, without deciding what to do about it, you will wake in the morning with the worry on your mind. It helps you write down these worries. Have a note pad by the bed. If a worry comes up, write it down so you don't forget it. You have given yourself permission to leave it till the morning.
A client recently came to me in very great anguish, very distressed indeed. She followed my advice and got some of these books and soon found herself relaxing into them. I also asked her to put a mirror in front of her desk and smile at herself during the day. You can imagine that she thought this was weird! But it works. When we feel sad, we don't smile.When we don't smile, we feel sad.This is what she wrote after just 3 sessions. "When I met her I felt I was at the end of the road, that I was on a path that would mean I would be unhappy forever. That was only 4 weeks ago and having just finished my third session - my whole life has changed again." You can read the rest of her review here.
Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy really works, and it works fast. It is very flexible and adapts to your needs - enjoyable and relaxing too. Give it a try. Get in touch with me and see how it can work for you.
What is your experience of anxiety and depression? What worked for you?