Colouring Health

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Be Kind to Your Mind caught my attention over the weekend as I struggled to cope with the soaring heat. “What an interesting title,” I thought. I brainstormed immediately about ways people can be unkind to their minds.

Constantly comparing yourself to others and feeling inferior or inadequate based on those comparisons are absolutely unkind to your minds. And guess what? Sometimes parents are guilty of fueling feelings of jealousy, dissatisfaction, and low self-worth in their offspring when they make comparisons between their children. They may even compare their children to other youth in the neigbourhood.

Demanding perfection from yourself and setting unrealistic expectations can be detrimental to your mental well-being. It creates a constant sense of inadequacy and can prevent you from taking risks and trying new things due to fear of not meeting impossibly high standards. Perfectionism can also result in self-doubt.

Lots of young people struggle with this imposter syndrome due to past failures, negative experiences, fear of judgement, and societal pressure. The persistent feeling of personal incompetence, which hinders you from seizing opportunities, affects even the most accomplished. Despite extraordinary academic achievements and extensive work experience, a lack of confidence can prevail. Although self-doubt is not a mental illness, it affects psychological well-being, including many people who suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses. Self-doubt is a common human experience that can manifest in personal relationships, work, and creative pursuits.

And this is why Be Kind to Your Mind: Mental Health Colouring & Activity Book is needed. It targets children ages 8-12. The book was launched on July 23, 2023, and its author is no stranger. Chaneil Imhoff is a mental health advocate, entrepreneur and former youth parliamentarian for St Peter. She authored the Mental Health Bill which was discussed during a meeting of the female parliamentarians, Women Against Rape, the Directorate of Gender Affairs, and representatives of three political parties in Antigua and Barbuda. 

The 29-year-old told YouthZone that “children today are facing an increasingly complex world, and it’s more important than ever to provide them with the tools and resources they need to manage their emotions and build resilience. I created Be Kind to Your Mind to help children cultivate mindfulness, self-awareness, and empathy in a way that’s both enjoyable and accessible.”

Based on her research, Chaneil pointed out that “many of our young people have no idea how to manage their mental health and their parents are also ill-equipped to do so. There are little to no safe spaces for the many who need it and little to no education on Mental Health and Wellness especially at that level”.

And what better way than to colour. Colouring is a fun way to pass the time, relax, and engage in a creative pursuit. It allows individuals to express their creativity and imagination. Colouring provides an outlet for self-expression by choosing colours, experimenting with different techniques, and adding personal touches to the artwork. It is a calming activity—a form of meditation—that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Colouring engages the mind and allows it to focus on the present moment, promoting mindfulness and relaxation.

The therapeutic benefits of colouring for all ages must not be underestimated. It can be helpful in art therapy, aiding individuals in expressing emotions, reducing trauma, and promoting emotional healing. Colouring can be particularly beneficial for people with anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions.

Besides unwinding and de-stressing, colouring books can aid in cognitive development, particularly in young children. It helps them learn about shapes, colours, patterns, and spatial awareness. Colouring activities also stimulate the brain and promote problem-solving skills as individuals make decisions about which colours to use and how to fill in the pictures.

You can get copies of Be Kind to Your Mind on Amazon https://amzn.to/3Or0eQk. Physical copies will be available in a few weeks and formally presented to a few schools during the Week of World Mental Health Day in October.

As Chaneil continues to conduct workshops, visit schools, and enable young people to access mental health services at no cost, you can find out more about her mental health advocacy work at https://chaneilimhoff.com/category/mental-health/.

The mental health advocate reminded us, “It’s essential to know that you are not alone, and there are ways to seek help and support. Remember that it’s okay to seek help and support when you’re struggling mentally.”

Chaneil insisted, “Your feelings are valid and there are people who care about you and want to help. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health.” She encouraged young people to reach out to someone they trust and know since there is support available for them.

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