Adults are finding that losing themselves in a LEGO® build helps reduce stress and anxiety levels.
It’s certainly no secret that LEGO play is as much an adult pastime as it is for kids. In fact, even big stars like David Beckham have recognised the calming effects of building LEGO sets. In an interview with The Guardian in 2014, Beckham said, “I think LEGO sometimes helps to calm me down.”
“It’s nice to have something completely different from my job, where I’m not thinking so much but can get really focused and forget about everything else,” explains Peter Mordecai, in an article in the Metro about the anxiety-reducing effects of LEGO play.
Dan Jarvis, who is another AFOL interviewed in the article, explains, “I go in the loft and I can forget about all the troubles in the world and I totally relax. And that’s my stress relief really.”
Yet another fan, Jack Daubey, observes that his LEGO hobby helps him to reset: “It’s something creative that also helps you clear your mind and that really works for me.”
Build your escape
“Build your escape” is an attempt at reaching the adult LEGO fan base to communicate the potential psychological benefits of building with LEGO bricks. Its suggestion: skip the yoga, and lose yourself in the process of building a LEGO set you can relate to.
Here are 4 ways LEGO play can help you zen out:
It demands your undivided attention – leave your phone in the other room and focus on the task at hand.
It helps you harness mindfulness – and encourages you to let go of any difficult or stressful experiences.
It boosts your creativity – and helps you see things from a different perspective.
It is precision based – it’s a great way to find control and remind yourself of your capabilities.
A new LEGO theme…?
Just last year, The LEGO Group’s Creative Play Lab launched a crowd-funding project through IndieGoGo for a concept they call LEGO FORMA – a LEGO-based set that combines LEGO building and mechanisation with colouring activities for adults looking for hobbies that lower stress levels and promote mindfulness. The models are a variety of fish using just under 300 LEGO parts and a customisable “skin” which you colour in.
The description summarises it as “a premium LEGO experience for adults looking for a simple, fun way to disconnect from their screens and reconnect with their creative side.”
The crowd-funding campaign was so successful that the company managed to raise 1334% of their original goal. We will soon see whether or not fans find the sets successful at assisting them to destress.
Whether you sit down to enjoy an instructional build, prefer to free build or create your own LEGO model, it seems that the stress-relieving benefits of LEGO play for adults is one well worth paying attention to.
For Women’s Month we wanted to highlight 5 female AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO), or better yet 5 AFFOLs (Adult Female Fans of LEGO), who are doing amazing things with our favourite brick.
Alice Finch’s motto might as well be “Go big or go home”. Inspired to start building with LEGO bricks when her children took up the hobby, it wasn’t long before she knew that building with LEGO bricks was for her. Her first model was the Hogwarts Castle – 400 000 bricks later!
Aside from building models for a living at her company Bippity Bricks, Finch also contributes to a range of social projects including Women’s Brick Initiative (WBI) which began in 2018 in collaboration with Shelly Corbett and Jacqueline Sanchez. WBI aims to inspire girls and women to build with LEGO bricks.
We want to demonstrate that the simple plastic brick can be used in a variety of creative ways beyond traditional building.
Alice Finch for WBI
We love her recent project for the United Nations Refugee Agency which highlights the plight of refugees worldwide.
She has also been a part of the production of a range of LEGO-related books as an author or featured builder, including The LEGO Architecture Idea Book and LEGO Awesome Ideas.
Mariann Asanuma had wanted to be a LEGO Master Model Builder since childhood. Her determination and talent mean that not only has she worked at LEGOLAND California, but she has since gone on to create her own company, Model Building Secrets, building, writing and supporting LEGO and LEGO-related projects.
Her work ranges from custom builds to replicas, on site building events to picture mosaics and so much more.
In 2018, the young and talented Michelle Thompson beat over 7000 applicants to become a LEGO master builder at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Birmingham, UK. Her background as an HR assistant might seem somewhat unrelated, but as Thompson points out, she’s built LEGO models all her life and it so happens that General Manager Amy Langham was blown away by Thompson:
“She’s creative, she loves LEGO and she can build – it’s what many people brought to the table but Michelle went beyond what we hoped for with this infectious ability to excite and engage others. She really is the perfect person for the job and worthy of the Master Model Builder title.”
“LEGO has always provided me as an outlet for my creativity, especially as a child. Now I hope to inspire and inject the same passion I’ve conjured up over the years to many, many others,” she told What’s On Midlands.
Her role as the official Master Model Builder will entail constructing displays, curating exhibitions and sharing her infectious passion for LEGO building with young and old fans alike.
If you were ever in doubt as to just how creative one can get with a LEGO brick, you’ll doubt no more once you’ve laid your eyes on Veronica Watson’s creations. As a former LEGO Master Model Builder for Westchester, UK, Watson used LEGO bricks as her art medium. She’s well known for recreating iconic scenes using LEGO bricks such as Picasso’s Guernica, Beyonce’s Lemonade album and iconic tennis player Serena Williams in action on the court.
Having graduated with a degree in architecture, the young master model builder applied her technical skills to the brick.
There is definitely a big crossover between architecture and LEGO. Ironically, I don’t typically build architecture-themed models.
Watson to autodesk.com
Just like all of us amateur builders, Watson admits that a brick separator is a useful tool to own: “One thing that’s pretty handy is a brick separator… it basically just saves your fingernails.”
According to a recent report by Boston.com, architectural graduate Megan Amaral is North America’s only female Master Model Builder, and just one of the three women in this role worldwide. Encouraging other young female LEGO fans to dream big is part of her mission.
“I always like to bring that up to be like, ‘Look, you could be the next female Master Model Builder when you grow up, because right now there’s only three of us in the world and you should go for it — keep building,’” she says.
She’s intent on bringing a female perspective to builds and aside from her work on the general displays at Legoland Discovery Center Boston, she designs a few of her own builds, where colour is a strong focus.
“A flamingo is not just one shade of pink, it’s two shades of pink and they have to work together,” she explains.
Got any other suggestions of women in LEGO we should be following? Leave your suggestion in the comments below.