Coloring is traditionally thought of as something that children do to pass time, but the therapeutic benefits for adults have recently become more and more obvious. Over the last few years, adults have started using coloring as a method of stress relief. Coloring offers a creative way to be mindful, and research shows that coloring affects the brain the same way meditation does. Therefore, if you are looking for a way to unwind at the end of a long day, or are looking for a therapeutic tool to help you, coloring books are a great option. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from adult coloring books.
Believe it or not, the benefits of coloring for adults has been studied for decades, starting with Carl Jung, one of the founders of modern psychology. In the early 20th century, Jung studied the effects of coloring Mandalas on his patients. He found that this was a good calming tool that reduced their stress, and used coloring regularly in his practice.
Activates the Whole Cerebral Hemisphere
We hear a lot about the right and left brains, and how an activity uses one of the other. Coloring actually uses both sides of the brain, meaning it involves both logic and creativity skills. Picking a certain color for a pattern or shape involves your right, or analytical, side of the brain. In addition, mixing and matching colors engage the left, or creative, side of the brain. When you color, you are engaging your entire mind.
Brings You Back to Childhood
Coloring is also therapeutic for adults because it brings them back to a simpler time in their lives. As a child, you (hopefully) faced less stress and had fewer concerns, so being beckoned back by performing an activity you did often in your youth can make you feel more relaxed and happy. It may even help you feel more enthusiastic and optimistic for the future.
Acts like Meditation
As stated above, coloring activates the same parts of the brain as meditation. Meditation is an effective stress relief tool because it keeps you in the present moment. Instead of worrying about the future or reflecting on regrets of the past, you are completely and fully present. However, many people find it difficult to meditate, as you are essentially just sitting and doing nothing. Coloring provides a happy alternative because you can reach the same meditative state while still doing something. The act of coloring in patterns and shapes is simply relaxing, and gives you something to do while you “zone out.”
Helps with Anxiety
Anxiety is an umbrella term for a type of mental health disorder that is extremely common. Anxiety disorders can cause a variety of troubling symptoms, including excessive worry, body pain, obsessive thoughts, and insomnia. People with anxiety often rely on a variety of tools to help soothe themselves, and coloring offers a relaxing and simple one. Both the meditative and creative properties of coloring help patients and works in conjunction with therapies already in place. Research shows that coloring before conventional therapy appointments can help people with a variety of mental disorders, including anxiety, to benefit more from their treatment.
As adults, we often lose the curiosity about ourselves we had in our youth. We are so busy managing our professional and personal lives, we rarely stop to reflect on ourselves and listen to what our thoughts have to say about who we are. It’s easy for our identity to get lost in our modern world full of distraction. Fortunately, you don’t have to go on an epic international journey or quit your job and start over as a street performer to learn more about yourself. Something as simple as coloring at the end of the day gives you some time to be with your thoughts and reflect on yourself. Many people who start coloring find that they are able to discover more about themselves than they anticipated.
Helps Your Physical Health, Too
The mental benefits of coloring are obvious, but even people with physical health issues can benefit from coloring. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that people with epilepsy can use coloring to help with stress relief, reducing their chances of seizures. Stress can have a major impact on a variety of health concerns, from epilepsy to heart disease to Lupus. The stress-reduction properties of coloring can be beneficial for your health in many different ways.
At Counseling Services of Parker, we have coloring books on hand to help our patients. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for anxiety treatment in Parker.