Coloring to Focus with ADD
As a child, I didn't like to color, since my manual dexterity wasn't the greatest. Like many children with un-medicated Attention Deficit Disorder, my handwriting was all over the place. It was difficult to stay in the lines when I colored. Now that I color as an adult, I find that the results can be pleasant. The years have added more skill to my handwriting, and my coloring helps me focus my thoughts.
Coloring is a form of doodling, which is a type of fidget. Many people with Attention Deficit Disorder are able to focus more intensely when they have something to do with their hands. Coloring can be that something. Why does coloring help with focus?
When a person colors, it doesn't take the same type of brain power that decision making does. A person's procedural memory, which is the type of memory that coloring uses, helps us to do tasks automatically. These activities have been learned over time and repeated until a person is able to do them without thinking. This frees the unconscious mind to deal with concerns that have not been resolved.
A neuroscientist from Carnegie Mellon, David Cresswell discovered that difficult problems are resolved more effectively if there is some distance between the initial problem and the resolution. Study subjects who were given a short-term, slightly distracting task, made better decisions about a complex problem. Coloring fills the bill!
Coloring is lightly distracting and sensory. There is the feel of the pencil in your hand as it presses on the paper. Visually, you see the color being laid down on the paper. You hear the whispering of the pencil as it moves across the paper. Coloring becomes like a moving meditation. It releases the mind to prowl over to larger issues.
Get started by finding some coloring pages that please you. Print them out. You may find mandalas, abstract designs, or a multitude of other art that adults appreciate. Just go to a search engine and use "coloring pages" as your search term. If you want a project that is a bit more complicated, hobby stores have adult coloring books. These are basically color by number for crayons, pencils or markers. I like to keep it simple!
Do you prefer crayons, colored pencils, or markers? Spend a small amount of money on art supplies that will make your experience enjoyable. They don't need to be expensive. Don't use your kids' old stubby pencils, dried markers, or tiny crayons. The purpose is to free your mind, not make you frustrated with inadequate supplies.
As you color, let your mind ramble freely. If thoughts come to you, write them down, then continue your coloring. Attention Deficit Disorder doesn't mean that you cannot focus. Sometimes you just need to use that ADD creativity to find a strategy to focus those thoughts.
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Published on September 18, 2012 by David Rock in Your Brain at Work. Accessed 101513.
Coloring Pages accessed 10/15/13:
https://printmandala.com/ Free printable mandalas
https://www.coloring-book.info/coloring/coloring_page.php?id=209 Beautiful designs, but it often pops out an sheet of paper
https://www.coloring-pages-for-all-ages.com/ An eclectic mix of coloring pages for the whole family
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