Health tips for May 2015

How colouring can help reduce stress and how psychological stress can worsen physical pain.

Colour me happy

Parents have long known the peace that a box of crayons and a colouring book can bring to a child, but the simple activity is now also catching on as a stress reliever for adults. New releases for grownups such as Colour Therapy: An Anti-Stress Colouring Book are capitalizing on multiple academic studies that suggest colouring in pre-drawn patterns — particularly complex geometric ones — can reduce adults’ levels of anxiety by inducing a "meditative state."

Stress reduces ability to withstand pain

Psychological stress can make physical pain worse, according to a recent study published in the journal Pain. Researchers at Tel Aviv University tested the pain responses of a group of 29 healthy men before and after subjecting them to a stressful task. They found that stress not only intensified the subjects’ pain but the higher the perceived level of stress, the harder it was for subjects to regulate their pain. Interestingly, there was no clear effect of stress on the subjects’ pain threshold or tolerance.