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One of the first and most important developmental steps a young child takes after learning to walk, talk and feed itself is to learn to color inside the lines of drawings. This step is important for many different reasons, including developing their fine muscle control but also to make sense of the world in which they live and how to conform to societal norms.
Isn’t it strange, then, that later in life, especially during the longest phase of adulthood, that we are often required to reject the idea of coloring inside the lines and to start thinking outside the box? This term is used for an idea that is thought to be associated with the creativity and innovation which are important to personal development, technological and other advancements and even the evolution of the human species.
The stress and pressures that are put on the average human being to conform while being unique and different can result in a number of different mental health conditions including anxiety disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder.
What Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, is governed by obsessive thought patterns that result in the performing of repetitive or compulsive behaviors. In order to effectively treat this disorder, it is necessary to refocus the mind away from the obsessive thoughts in order to change the resulting compulsive behavior.
– Coloring inside the lines provides for the need to obsess and conform allowing it to be projected in a positive way rather than a negative way.
– Coloring can replace an unhealthy obsession that may be interfering with the ability to lead a normal life.
– Coloring pages can provide a means to be creative in allowing for color, texture and other creative ideas.
– Coloring can allay anxiety associated with OCD by allowing for the concept of coloring outside the lines.
– Coloring provides a distraction from obsessive thoughts.
The Science Behind Coloring For OCD
Coloring (or drawing and sketching) has actually been used as a therapeutic tool to treat anxiety disorders such as OCD for decades. The structured and repetitive tasks involved have been found to be extremely relaxing, providing a successful distraction from negative thought patterns that result in negative or unwanted behaviors and also allows people to choose, for those with ocd, color coordination schemes that best suit their mood.
However, there are some principles to coloring exercises that are essential to the technique being successful:
– The coloring must be able to immerse the person fully in order to provide the wanted distraction.
– The process must be mindful allowing the person to become fully immersed in the experience.
– Pages should be complex and inspiring to allow for creativity and for the task to take an extended period of time.
– The designs should inspire creativity by providing the choice of which colors to use and what mediums to color with.
Coloring mindfully provides the perfect distraction for obsessive thoughts allowing the brain to focus and concentrate fully on the task at hand. The ability to prevent the mind from wandering and start thinking obsessively can retrain the brain to learn how to prevent these thoughts from turning into compulsive behaviors. Adult coloring pages that meet all the necessary criteria to act as a therapeutic treatment for color OCD are available online to be downloaded and printed.