The purpose of my catalyst conference is to spread awareness to the stress and anxiety that stems from high school. This year especially has taken a toll on a lot of student’s mental health. At our school the motto is to keep going until you can’t and even when you can’t, you still can. Everyone competes with each other to have the most difficult schedules, the best grades, and to see who is the most stressed out. Students are depleting their own mental health when competing with others. I wanted to find ways to ease some of the stress that high school students face. I am trying catalyze change in high schoolers. The education system currently in place makes it difficult to maintain a healthy mental state. My goal was to promote an outlet that I personally found helpful. I wanted to create a way that when students get overwhelmed they know of this outlet. When I was in Freshman year, I discovered coloring as this outlet. I found that even if you are not “good” at it, it can still feel therapeutic. It takes me away from my stress and allows me to focus on one task that is low stakes and relaxing. My goal is to promote the importance of having an outlet in the midst of our busy, stressed lives.
Rising in popularity, Adult coloring books seem to be a new fad. But after seeing so many books stocking the shelves of stores, I have to wonder, are coloring book just simply a fad? Or do they really have the ability to bring relaxation to the consumer? After coloring myself, I found it to actually be very effective in decreasing my stress levels. The combination of working towards a goal with no pressure seemed to be just enough to hold my attention, yet decrease my stress levels. When researching for this project I found that many other people agreed with me. An article CNN did on coloring states that “Coloring with a goal and a design to complete can be more therapeutic and relaxing than just doodling” and that “Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring about mindfulness”. I decided to put this information to the test on students who attend my high school. So many students face hours of homework and tests to study for after school that can lead them to be very stressed. I wanted to see if having an outlet for this stress would help them balance it all. I reached out to 7 friends and asked them to color for 30 minutes after school. They took they’re stress levels before they colored and then after using a scale of 1-10. (1 being not stressed at all and 10 being extremely stressed). The results are below.
Here is a video with the students who colored speaking about their stress levels and their experience with coloring:
Throughout this project, I learned that having an outlet for one’s stress is very important. Coloring can be this for some people. Coloring can be a way to take a break and focus on something that has nothing to do with your everyday stress. No matter if you use coloring as an outlet for your stress or other methods, having an outlet is very important. As high schoolers we balance school, social life, and lots of other factors and it can every difficult. Finding ways to get you’re mind off of this stress is key.
Here is a poll where you can answer questions about your stress outlets!