Just like knitting, mowing the lawn, and coloring books can help soothe the mind, so can paint by numbers. With all of the stress in our lives, the more relaxing hobbies we have, the better. But why and how do these activities work to calm us down?
When we concentrate on our hobbies, we refocus our attention away from what’s bugging us and frame our thoughts around the activity. Instead of worrying about the argument we had with a friend or the bill that’s coming due, we’re looking for the number to show us where to apply paint.
We use our concentration but it’s not the same concentration as studying for a quiz. The stakes are low and the consequences of our mistakes are miniscule. So we can think about it without stressing about it.
The amygdala is part of our brain’s threat detection system. When it senses something awry, it responds by causing us to sweat and increases our heart rate. That’s part of the feeling we associate with anxiety and fear.
One way meditative hobbies like paint by numbers help our brain is by relaxing the amygdala. This makes our stress level plummet. It’s the same way healthy practices like meditation help us relax. You can even combine the two activities by painting a mandala or something with simple geometric shapes.
If you don’t think painting will help you sleep, just stream a few episodes of the Joy of Painting, hosted by Bob Ross. His gentle voice will lull you to a comforting slumber in no time. Seriously though, the slow methodical method of paint by numbers will help your brain let go of the stresses that keep many people up at night.
Sleep and our modern lifestyles often clash. The effect of being surrounded by electronics has a significant impact on our ability to sleep. Most experts recommend a period of screen-free time before bed to help your brain get ready to go to bed.
While paint by numbers specifically hasn’t been the focus of many scientific studies, the subject of art therapy has. It’s not exactly a remedy that will cure disease but it’s been shown to help improve mental clarity. Art therapy is also used to treat anxiety and depression.
Professional art therapists use activities like painting to help boost their patients’ self-esteem, emotional stability, social interaction, and motor function. Alzheimer’s patients who aren’t verbally responsive can be encouraged to express themselves through painting.
If you’re ready to give paint by numbers a try, painting a sleeping subject from PaintingKits, like the sleeping cats, or the sleeping mermaid will get you in the restful mood even faster. Once you get your kit, you’ll need a quiet spot to sit or stand. You can use an easel or paint on a flat surface.
One great thing about paint by numbers is that you don’t need a full painter’s set of equipment. The kit comes with everything you need, except water.