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18 Feb 2018 12:14
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  •   Home > News > Health & Safety

    Colouring books can improve mental health

    Adult colouring books have taken off in recent years with claims they reduce stress and a study shows there might be scientific evidence to support this.

    A study shows there might be some truth to claims adult colouring books can improve mental health.

    The University of Otago study found that colouring-in books lowered levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety.

    The study, authored by Dr Celia Lie, Dr Tamlin Conner and Jayde Flett tested whether adult colouring books "live up to the hype".

    They randomly assigned 115 women aged 18-36 years from the university with either a colouring booklet or a booklet of puzzles and they were asked to do the task for 10 minutes a day for a week.

    Those who were colouring-in reported lower levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety and both tasks showed an increase in mindfulness.

    Dr Lie says that this suggested that mindfulness was not the driving factor behind the improvement in depressive symptoms and anxiety.

    Dr Conner says the research is an important first step in understanding the psychological benefits of colouring-in but more research was needed.

    "Our findings bode well for the potential psychological benefits of colouring-in. In this way, colouring-in could be considered an act of everyday creativity, in much the same way as gardening or gourmet cooking," she said.

    "With its low risk and accessibility, we feel comfortable adding colouring-in to the growing list of creative activities for improving mental health outcomes."


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