Celebrated on April 15, Leonardo Da Vinci’s birthday, World Art Day emphasises the importance of art in the lives of everyone. Researchers have found there is a link between art and positive benefits to our mental, emotional and even physical health. While World Art Day would normally mean different museum hours, exciting events or special exhibitions, this year art lovers are having to find ways to feel the preciousness and the power of art right at home.
Colouring, which is all the rage during lockdown, seems to be the perfect solution. If you’ve been leaving all the Crayola-based activities to the kids, it’s the perfect day to get in on the action. Apart from a study published in the Creativity Research Journal claiming colouring for adults could potentially be used as an accessible and cost-effective self-help to manage some symptoms of poor mental health, there are many reasons to try the favourable craze with many benefits.
As well as helping to relax the amygdala, the section of the brain that is activated in situations where you feel stressed or anxious, colouring activates the parts of the brain that support creativity and logic. Colouring is considered a good ‘mind exercise’ because you use both sides of the brain’s cerebral cortex, an important system of control as it promotes motor skills and coordination. When you colour, you use the logic-based part of the brain through the choice of colour or pattern, and when you choose to pair or blend colours, you utilise the creative part of your brain.
The restorative way for grown-ups to unwind also aids sleep and increases attention spans. Other benefits of colouring include improving vision and focus. Picking up a crayon opens up your frontal lobe, which controls organising and problem solving and allows you to forget about everything else. Colouring is also a way to experience the same benefits as meditation, including inner calm and self realisation. Plus, at a time when many of us are plagued by worries about health, bills and what the future will hold, staying inside the lines may actually help replace patterns of negative thinking with more positive ones. Focusing on the task makes it difficult for you to concentrate on all those concerning issues, while creating a beautiful piece generates a positive reaction. Learning to control how your body deals with trauma is a crucial component of mental and physical wellness, and colouring is a self-soothing tool too.
Here are three ways to get colouring:
1. She may be an A-list celebrity fine jewellery designer, but Jacquie Aiche is also all about wellbeing. She has come out with her own adult colouring activity, the JA Zodiac Colouring pages. To spend some time with your creative side, click on the link here. If you want to show off your creation, don't forget to tag #JAzodiacs while posting it.
2. Manolo Blahnik has released some of his beautiful shoe sketches as free colouring pages. The renowned Spanish shoe designer created the initiative alongside UK organisation Mental Health Foundation, which works to help the public "understand, protectand sustain their mental health." The designs can be downloaded from the brand's website under a section called Smile The Art of Colouring. You can share your creations while tagging the brand and #manoloblahniksmiles.
3. Download a free sample of The Polo Bear Colouring Book and put your own creative stamp on Ralph Lauren’s signature bear. If you post your work using the hashtag #ColoringWithRalph, you may just be featured on the label’s Instagram handle.