By Maudy Veltema
As little as five minutes of colouring in a day can have the same influence on the brain as an hour of practicing conventional meditation techniques, a cognitive neuroscientist who has coined the term “colourtation” says.
Speaking at the World Science Festival in Brisbane, Dr Stanley Rodski said “colourtation” helped decongest the brain and provided a modern form of meditation.
In 2015, Dr Rodski’s company Colourtation Brain Science conducted research showing 53 per cent of Australians felt frequently stressed or out of control.
“We have to look at what is causing this pressure that we need to resolve,” Dr Rodski said.
Juggling family, work and fun in the fast-paced online world is a main contributor to the high stress levels that people experience, Dr Rodski said.
“From the moment you wake up your phone is on and people are calling you.
“You’re running from meeting to meeting, from class to class, and never get any relief,” he said.
Colourtation method based on patterns
“Five minutes of colouring a day is enough to get the same effect on the brain as about an hour worth of conventional meditation,” Dr Rodski said.
The colourtation method is different from other successful colouring books for adults currently on the market.
Apart from being gender neutral, the method does not focus on the process, but rather on creating the pattern using the colours and assessing your feelings afterwards.
“And it doesn’t even matter if you finish it in that time, it still has the effect on the brain that we want,” he said.
“Our brain likes to be in this relaxing mode of repeating shapes and staying inside the lines.”
Exercise improves sleep, exam results
Using the colouration method 15 minutes before bed can calm the brain down, readying it for sleep, Dr Rodski said.
Dr Rodski said the brain quickly jumped into a mode called alpha, from where it entered the deeper waves of 90-minute sleep cycles that we need to have to feel rested in the morning.
Another study of US physics students showed five minutes of colouring before an algebra test resulted in an improvement in results of between 15 and 100 per cent.
“The part of the brain where the algebra information was stored settled down and the students could put this to use in their tests,” he said.
This story is part of a collaboration for the World Science Festival between QUT and the ABC.