Sat 06 21
The Benefits of Adult Colouring: 10 Reasons to Colour Yourself to Calm
4 min read
Would you like a welcome distraction. Something to give yourself focus and purpose?
Or something just a little bit different?
Well if life gets a little bit chaotic then here's a little idea that could help.
10 Big Benefits of Adult Colouring
1. Relieve Stress
Researchers have discovered that coloring activities help relax the amygdala – the section of the brain that is activated in situations where you feel stressed or scared.
Simultaneously, colouring activates the parts of the brain that support creativity. A study conducted in 2005 by Nancy Curry and Tim Kasser found that those who colored in mandalas reported drastically decreased anxiety levels.
This is especially useful for those who suffer from constant anxiety or experience anxiety as a side effect of disorders like PTSD or depression.
2. Exercise the Mind
As previously mentioned, colouring sparks brain activity and activates the parts of the brain responsible for creativity and logic.
Colouring is considered a good ‘mind exercise’ because it utilizes both sides of the brain’s cerebral cortex– an important system of control as it promotes motor skills and coordination.
When you colour, you utilize the logic-based part of the brain through the choice of colour or pattern. When you choose to pair or blend colours, you utilize the creative part of your brain. Colouring works out both brain hemispheres, so that’s a total win-win!
3. A Creative Meditation
Tried meditating the Eat, Pray, Love way and couldn’t get to grips with silent meditation? Fortunately, that’s not the only way to get centered.
Psychologist Carl Jung believed that colouring mandalas helped patients experience many of the benefits of meditation, like inner calm and self realization.
Jung believed that the mandala pattern was a representation of the intricacy of ‘self,’ and noticed that many of his patients would doodle circle drawings.
He used the idea and the practice of colouring to promote wellness among his patients, noting that creating and coloring mandalas symbolized “a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness.”
4. Thought Swapping – Replace Patterns of Negative Thinking
Plagued by worries about your bills, your health, your family or your future? All of the above? Colouring may actually help replace patterns of negative thinking with more positive ones.
The focus that coloring necessitates makes concentrating on issues very difficult, and often when people colour, their negative thought patterns abate.
The negativity is replaced with more positive thoughts when ‘colourists’ react favorably to the pairing of colors and the creative pattern.
Neuropsychologist Dr. Stan Rodski explained that colouring elicited real neurological effects, stating: “We started seeing changes in heart rate, changes in brainwaves…the most amazing things occurred.”
5. Self Soothe
Learning how to control your body’s stress activation system (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system…phew!) is a vital component of mental and physical wellness.
Those who can influence how their bodies deal with trauma are much more resilient and have higher coping mechanisms.
Learning to self soothe during a period of trauma is essential to coping, and many are finding that colouring helps combat tough experiences without getting wrapped up in the accompanying emotions.
Researchers have found that colouring works in a variety of circumstances, one being debilitating illness.
A 2006 study by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University found that colouring and other art therapy was essential to reducing stress, anxiety and fear during women’s cancer treatment periods.
6. Make New Friends , Reduce Social Anxiety
That’s right. you can colour and make new friends. Colouring has become so popular that colouring chapters are forming in some neighborhood and cities where avid ‘colorists’ are taking advantage of the phenomenon.
Though colouring is traditionally seen as a singular activity, these clubs seek to promote positive social interaction between members of the community.
It is particularly helpful for those who suffer from social anxiety, as they are able to interact meaningfully with new people without the pressure that often accompanies social gatherings.
=> Your next read: 25 Best Adult Colouring Books Ever
7. Walk the Middle Road for a While
Life today is a rat race of accomplishments, stress and competitions. This may be self evident, but colouring is a pretty low-pressure activity. There is no way to win, lose or even play the game.
Having an activity that takes the ‘middle road', that is not reliant on a time limit, a ‘correct’ answer or a competition is freeing and can be incredibly cathartic and restorative after a long day of work or stress.
8. Encourage Yourself to Be Present
It’s no secret that people today are distracted more than ever. With all of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the notifications that *ding!* constantly from our phones and tablets, it can be hard to focus when you really need to. Colouring to the rescue!
An art therapy student from Lesley University recently attested to the increase in colouring books in her university lectures to help students focus.
She noted that in group therapy discussions, those who have issues concentrating often do better with the aid of a colouring book, stating “we have several adult colouring books at my site to offer the clients.”
9. Build Mental Strength
We know that colouring books can help release stress in tough situations, but colouring books can also train our brains, making us more efficient, logical and mentally strong.
That’s right. Colouring can actually make you sharper and healthier. Leslie Marshall, a clinical counselor, states that coloring “opens up the frontal lobe of the brain- the home of organizing and problem solving – and focuses the mind.”
This can improve reasoning abilities as colouring gives the brain a chance to focus selectively. Additionally, psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala notes that coloring is so efficient in activating the cerebral cortex that the pastime can delay or prevent illnesses associated with aging, like dementia.
10. An Easy Way to Relax & Have Some Simple Fun
Some may view colouring as frivolous, but when is the last time you sat down and did something just for the fun of it?
Colouring can act as your designated “me-time,” and also as a way to increase self esteem.
In fact, a 2012 study showed that participants in a drawing and painting class reported 80% increased confidence and motivation. Other studies have pointed to the role of art in positive self realization and self representation, as well as increased involvement in a community.