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Psychologist: Colouring books for adults, or "positive regression"

17.08.2016 Society, Recommended

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Joy, a sense of achievement, satisfaction - these are the words people use to describe the feeling that accompanies completing various colouring books. Psychologist from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Sopot, Małgorzata Osowiecka talks about a new phenomenon among adults.

"Today people live very fast. We have a lot of job duties to perform and we multitask - we have to do a lot of things at once. This is very tiring for our cognitive structures" - said Osowiecka.


In her opinion, a relief for brain overtired with work may be colouring books, which for more than a year have been a popular form of leisure among adults. Many types of colouring books are available, including intricate mandalas, characters from movies, secret gardens.


"Drawing allow us to occupy our hands and our minds with something for a while. We focus on one activity and devote our resources to it. This way, we help our memory - it can relax and refresh. It allows us to give ourselves a time off " - explained the expert.


According to the psychologist, research shows that some people are unable to and do not like to rest doing nothing.


"We have an aversion to +doing nothing+. People do not like idleness. Research shows that a person will prefer to receive slight electric shocks, rather than sit back and think to himself" - she explained.


That makes a colouring book is a great idea for a break at work, or relaxing in the evening. The fact that it occupies our hands, and therefore engages a "motive procedure", it is very beneficial to health. For the same reason some people like manual needlework. "By using a brush or colour pencils we activate our brain, which is very fond of smooth and harmonious movements" - believes Osowiecka.


At the same, according to the expert, the brain rests, because while completing a ready pattern with colour we do not think about each movement. We feel only pleasure.


Research shows that even mindless scribbling on a piece of paper, for example while listening to a lecture, supports the process of learning and memorising. A similar mechanism is associated with colouring.


"At the same time colouring is an escape into a safe world of childhood. It is a kind of regression, but a positive one - negative firms include bed-wetting up and toe sucking, which should not occur in adult life" - she noted.


The psychologist recommends colouring books for a break at work or between duties, as a transition from one activity to another. "From a psychological point of view, this solution is very beneficial. We often forget that the brain needs time to +switch+ - she added. Doing a colouring book also helps to "put thoughts in your head in order" and to plan future actions - believes Osowiecka.


Colouring books for adults hit the Polish market in 2015. According to the spokesman of Kolporter, Dariusz Materek, they are not as popular as in Western Europe or the United States, but they "have their fans".


"In France, they sold better than cookbooks, and in the US in the first half of 2015 as many as five such publications were on the list of Top 15 best-selling books" - the spokesman of Kolporter explained.


Currently, colouring books for adults are offer in Poland by such book publishers as Olesiejuk, Amber, Nasza Księgarnia, Literat - and press publishers, for example Hachette Polska, Edipresse Polska, Burda. Sometimes they appear as supplements to newspapers and magazines.


"The time since their appearance on our market is relatively short, so at this point it is difficult to assess whether they will become such a strong position in sales as, for example, crossword puzzles" - said Materek.


PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland, Szymon Zdziebłowski


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