Mindful Coloring
Podcast #114 — Aired December 12, 2016

Stressed out? Trying opening up a coloring book, it’s a great form of meditation! This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’re talking with Dr. Nicole Martinez about the many benefits of coloring for adults. Dr. Martinez will explain how coloring can help reduce stress and relax the brain.

 

 

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Dr. Nicole Martinez
Psychologist, Life Coach

Dr. Nicole Martinez received her Masters and her Doctorate from Illinois School of Professional Psychology, and completed her pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowship at Gateway Foundation in Illinois. Prior to that she attended the University of St. Francis where she completed a double major in Psychology and Therapeutic Recreation. Dr. Martinez has experience working with adolescents and adults in individual, family, and group treatment. Dr. Martinez is the author and illustrator of 50 Ways to Color Your Cares Away: Adult Coloring Book for Mental, Emotional, and Intellectual Health.

 

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Hi, welcome to Better Worldians Radio! Better Worldians Radio is a weekly broadcast whose mission is to uplift and inspire you to make the world a better place. I'm Ray Hansell joined today by my co-host, MarySue Hansell. Better Worldians Radio has brought to you by A Better World Foundation and is co-hosted by the family team that created the popular game on Facebook called A Better World. A Better World rewards players for doing good deeds while helping to raise money and awareness for charities. To date, over 40 million good deeds have been done at A Better World by more than 4 million people in over 100 countries. This week on Better Worldians Radio, we welcome Dr. Nikki Martinez to talk about the benefit of mindful coloring for adults. Dr. Martinez received her Master's and Doctorate from Illinois School of Professional Psychology and completed her predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowship at Gateway Foundation in Illinois. Prior to that, she attended the University of St. Francis where she completed double major in Psychology and Therapy Recreation. Dr. Martinez has experienced working with adolescents and adults individual family and group treatment.

MarySue Hansell
Hi Dr. Martinez, this is MarySue Hansell, welcome to Better Worldians radio.

Dr. Martinez
Thank you.

MarySue Hansell
Now, can you tell us, Nikki, how coloring a form of meditation?

Dr. Martinez
You know, its actually been You know, it's actually been priding to many people that coloring is not a form of meditation but it really is. And actually, distract people from sort of everything going on around the world around them, in their environment and the world that is biased. It calmed them down, it focuses them on attack, it takes their mind away from negative distraction, to focus on that, and also it aesthetically queuing counsel, something that is generally making them happy if they are doing it, as opposed to focusing on anything negative, that they could be doing or thinking about.

MarySue Hansell
You know, does that apply to doodling and coloring in doodling, is that in the same?

Nikki
Absolutely, doing it actually a form of meditation, sort of, in the form that we would call frontogenesis. Where people, if they're concentrating and up on the doodle and on the turn and what they're doing they're sort of shutting out all of the sort of static, around them, and they're not thinking about anything else except for that one little picture they're doing, and they really are in a way doing meditation.

MarySue Hansell
You know, that's really interesting sometimes I will find myself doing that in a stressful meeting, so now I know why I do that.[laughter] Anyway, Now we understand that this Mindfulness calling can have some major brain benefits, can you share with us some of this?

Nikki
Yeah what's really interesting is that coloring actually activate both sides of the brain. So, people would think of calling as a being artistic, but actually, when we're coloring a picture we're thinking about balance, meaning, problem solving, you know sort of what color do I put here to balance the picture, or how would it look right here, we're thinking about beauty. So, it activate a lot higher order functioning, than people would actually give it credit for.

MarySue Hansell
Thats interesting, that you find people have a hard time believing that coloring can have a natural mental health benefit, I mean do they respond, look like you are crazy. [laughter]

Nikki
Absolutely. [04:01 - inaudible], until they do it, and they love it. I don't think I've ever had somebody come back and be like I don't know why you made me do that is such a waste of my time. A lot of people sort of look at me like, maybe we need as much, the little bit when I'm away we shouldn't try to play here and say What is that like I swear that will calm you down, [04:22 -inaudible], I tell them just try it, and the next thing I know they've bought a stack of books. So, they I I've had people who I would like to try it once and then they will and an aesthetically they will go out and say I want to buy a different type of books. So, coloring, so, they typically love it.

MarySue Hansell
Yeah, it's really a lot of fun, both in the books and even on the computers and apps like that. Who is coloring right for?

Nikki
Well, it's really good for almost everyone. Most people respond very well to coloring, I would suggest, those people of anxiety, people of depression, people with most issues. The only group that I may not assign to would be people with obsessive compulsive disorder, because they would be,too fixated on the detail, and sort of lose coming to checking enjoyment, of the activity. [05:30 crosstalk]

MarySue Hansell
So, people who are depressed or anxious, this is this is really calming for them and makes them feel better.

Nikki
Yes, and if you're depressed and you think about it turn to give, you you know it's hard to find when you're more than some motivation to do anything when you depart, so did to try to sign it up it's simple a coloring is actually getting them to do something. And show that they can do something and finish something. So it can be really productive for them.

Raymond Hansell
We'll talk more talk more Dr. Nikki Martinez in a moment. But right now I take a brief break and tell our listeners a bit about our game on Facebook called a better world. A better world encourages habits of goodness, positive mindsets and giving to social causes to make a positive difference in the world. Players do things that can express gratitude, share acts of kindness, sent get well notes real world sick kids and much more. You can find out more at a Betterworld.com. So now let's get back to our conversation with Dr. Nikki Martinez. So, Nikki, I was surprised and interested to see that the usefulness of coloring for adults has a long history. I understand even the Carlo Young recommended it. Can you tell us about that?

Nikki
Yes, you're right, it does go all the way back to Carlo Young. Is the first sort of documented person who was using it was just yesterday that he would have a time.

Raymond Hansell
Sure.

Nikki
And which is why a lot of a period of time but while it's surprising which it goes all the way back because he saw a deep fullness in destruction and expulsion in co-brain and he really thought that he tried in tapping into being broken. So, when a patient was really having a lot of trouble to articulating their needs, and expressing what they needed to be doing in therapy, he bowed and this was the great way to break the ice, and there's actually a lot that you can tell, and you are about to sort of work, the idea of art therapy by then and what you can help from a picture that one colors your drive from the colors they choose to the steam that they made to the way that they were one.

Raymond Hansell
That's interesting. So it's almost a typology then of coloring.

Nikki
Absolutely.

Raymond Hansell
That's fascinating. So, speaking of the finished product, what value does that have for someone that's doing wonderful coloring? Is it just the process of coloring it is the piece itself and take on a special significance?

Nikki
But I think it's brought the calm and the piece, because I think when they in the middle of process of doing it, but I think when they're finished, their youth idea of the satisfaction and the pride, the beauty and enjoyment, the fun of having done it, you know we mentioned earlier someone had been a prostitute something troubling any sort of task, really may find satisfaction implied that it's only that we found some people but they sat down and they finished the entire intricate picture. And that really an accomplishment for them.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah that's interesting, and I know that you yourself use coloring as a sort of therapy when you were recovering from an injury, how did that help you?

Nikki
I really, it helped me so much I joined very detailed and complicated images that took me hours and hours to complete and that really helped the time go by and I enjoyed it, and I had some initial for my time and I don't know what I would have done without it. It was actually what inspired me when I was recovering for eight or nine weeks, so, I had so many done and it was actually during that time that inspired me to make my own coloring book, because I was like I can do that.[laughter] You know I'm coloring and always getting I can do this, and that was when I got casually broke and started making images of my own, and doing it apart, it really, it really helped me feel that I'm in a productive way.

Raymond Hansell
That's great, and I know you've actually said that coloring is a good activity to do right before bed time. Why is that?

Nikki
Ooh its calming, its destructing, its careen. Right before bed, is a really hot time for anxiety, in racing part, so this helps to counter that. It really helps to distract the person on the progress on that task and sort of relax and like get really into a better position for sleep, because we all know, if we're anxious one way down in the dark getting ready for bed that's when our mind starts racing and going so we've done something that is sort of tired mentally tired and sound, and countering it down, we're going to stand a better chance of not having all of those anxious thoughts, and just fell a little bit intoxicated.

Raymond Hansell
You know, I even wonder what effect it might have on people's dreams, but the focus and the kind of presence thing other than even the imagery you know.

Nikki
That's a really interesting thought and that's probably very true, because usually it's one of the last thing that we think about that we're going into our dreams, so that's very very possible.

Raymond Hansell
Well, you know we talked a lot today, about how coloring is a great form of self-care, and I am curious this is my final question, how do you think a focus on self-care and coloring itself can help make it a better world.

Nikki
But if we don't take care of ourselves, could have nothing left for us or anyone else, and we, if we have nothing left for us, we have nothing left to give to anyone else. That what burned out happened. There is practically good self-care, quite balanced in our lives, that's really shift our priorities, create boundaries and really have more of something that we have been keeping in our lives. I would say that most people that, do coloring as an activity, even once a week will tell you that they really enjoyed sitting down and doing it, and so introducing something like that into your life, really didn't do that kind of contentment for our performance.

Raymond Hansell
You can learn more about Dr Nikki Martinez, by going to her website; Dr. Nikki Martinez dot com. Dr Martinez, thank you so much for joining us at Better Worldians radio today.

Nikki
Thank you so much for having me.

Raymond Hansell
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