Here are some of the best benefits of coloring for adults and how to get started.
Can a $5 coloring book improve your life? Many researchers say ‘yes’! Although there have been no large clinical studies on coloring books yet, experts say that the benefits of coloring for adults are similar to those of other mindfulness practices, like yoga and meditation.
Researchers believe that “coloring therapy” is a powerful form of art therapy that offers tremendous health benefits. Occupational therapists are using it to help patients retrain areas of their brains, and people who suffer from tremors are using it to improve fine motor skills, with good results.
If you’ve heard about the adult coloring book trend but have questioned its effectiveness or appeal, here is everything you need to know about the benefits of coloring for adults and how to get started.
6 Benefits of Coloring for Adults
There is a reason why children look so peaceful when they are coloring!
Reduce stress and anxiety
Some consider coloring therapy a form of meditation. It has similar properties and benefits in terms of its ability to help us combat anxiety.
Through the process of coloring, coloring therapy enables us to turn off other thoughts and focus on the present moment. This helps us to alleviate the constant chatter of thoughts people with anxiety struggle to quiet.
While some people have trouble with traditional meditation, which often focuses solely on the breath, coloring offers structure. By helping people participate in a meditative activity while also doing something physical, coloring therapy can be a great first step if you are interested in establishing a meditation practice.
In one small study, researchers found that being artistic helped people who were struggling with depression.
Awareness of the benefits of coloring for adults and its ability to alleviate depression has increased recently. However, therapists, including Carl Jung, who used to prescribe coloring to patients suffering from anxiety and depression, have recommended it for decades.
Coloring engages both hemispheres of our brains as well as opens up the frontal lobe – the area that handles organizing and problem solving. In doing so, it enables us to give our amygdala, the part of our brain involved in creating a fear response, a break and quite literally switch off other thoughts.
Heal from emotional distress
Studies show that therapeutic artwork can help us replace negative thoughts associated with lengthy medical treatments or grief, with positive ones.
For decades, therapists have used art therapy to help individuals suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Focusing on the calming act of coloring can be a productive outlet for those who are in a heightened state of worry.
Recover from physical trauma
Therapists are using art therapy to help returning members of the military who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Additionally, physical therapists have also used coloring as a way to help recover after a brain injury. One 2006 study found that mindfulness art therapy helped women with cancer significantly decrease symptoms of physical and emotional distress during their treatments.
Coloring can increase our ability to problem solve and be creative.
Studies show that even a short coloring session can increase our ability to be creative. Creative services firms have started implementing “coloring time,” in which employees gather in a conference room to color together.
Some studies show that these benefits are not unique to coloring. Simply just unplugging from technology for a short amount of time can advance our ability to create, rather than just consume.
How to make the most of your coloring session
There are hundreds of coloring books for adults available on bookstore shelves and online. With a wide range of themes, there is something for everyone.
- Select a book or two that resonates with you. If you love animals, pick up a book that contains animal designs. Or if you need a bit of inspiration, purchase one that contains quotes that you can hang up on your wall when you are finished with it.
- Since coloring books for adults contain much smaller coloring spaces than children’s books, it’s best to start with some very fine tip markers or colored pencils.
- Like anything else, it’s best to set time aside on your calendar for your coloring session. Otherwise it may slip through the cracks and you may not have time for it. Treat it like any other meditation or therapy session and you will be more likely to stick with it.
- Enhance your session by adding in some elements that address your emotional state. Feeling sad? Purchase some essential oils to diffuse or put on during your coloring session. Feeling tired? Put on some uplifting music and sit outside or near an open window while you color. Feeling lonely? Set a date to meet a friend at a coffee shop and color together.
Want other healthy hacks?
Visit our Live Life Healthy blog for daily hacks that will help you feel your best. From nourishment hacks to sleep and clean living hacks, let us be your essential partner in living your best life!
What benefits of coloring for adults have you found?
Have you purchased a coloring book for adults? Let us know how it went in the comments below!