By Stephanie DeRosa
Wish you could go back to being a kid and color your problems away? You don’t have to use excuses to get your hands on some crayons anymore. Coloring for adults is in, and it comes with some pretty amazing mental well being benefits. If flying gets your mind in a funk, take this tip from Travelle: make room in your carry-on for a coloring book and some pencils before your next trip, and get ready to reap the benefits of coloring while on the road.
Calm, Cool And Coloring
Maybe you have endless meetings to look forward to after landing or you’re just not thrilled with your chatty neighbor. Wherever your anxiety and stress is stemming from, it can be quelled with coloring. The part of the brain that deals with fear, the amygdala, experiences less activity when we focus on coloring, ultimately reducing stress levels. You’ll be so relaxed and in the zone, you’ll let go of all that work related anxiety.
Meditate On Mandalas
Before you drive yourself nuts on a long flight with unproductive thoughts and unanswerable questions, break out the coloring book—particularly one with patterns. Repetition has a soothing effect on the mind and redirects our thoughts. Think chanting a mantra when meditating. It gets you to focus your energy on one thing and release whatever is bothering you. The result is a clear, focused head and a pretty work of art.
Dull Your Pencils, Sharpen Your Mind
Coloring uses both hemispheres of the brain and requires certain regions of the cerebral cortex to come into play. So what does that mean? It means that while you’re destressing and enjoying childhood memories, your vision and fine motor skills are at work refining your coordination. It’s also one of the reasons the amygdala is less active when you’re coloring away which means with improved motor skills comes less anxiety.
We can’t all be Frida Kahlo; some of us are artistically...challenged. But coloring gives you an opportunity to get those creative juices flowing without having to do anything other than stay in the lines (but if you color outside them we won’t tell). Color in a way that reflects your mood or makes you happy. You can even draw in your own doodles for a unique twist. It can be especially therapeutic if you’re on a business trip and crave a little fun R&R in-flight before committing to corporate work.
You’re In Charge
There’s not much you can control when flying, but coloring is all you. If it’s not being able to sit up front and discuss routes with the pilot that makes you uneasy about flying, turn your attention to that coloring book. Besides your own attitude, it’s about the only other thing you get to have a serious say in. Take your mind off of what you can’t control by concentrating on choosing colors, patterns, designs, shading—make it as complicated or as simple as you’d like —and take comfort in knowing that you’re in charge.