Can Coloring Really Help You Relax? 9 Reasons to Try Adult Coloring
As a kid, you might have picked up a coloring book on a rainy day or when your parents needed you to occupy yourself quietly. As an adult, maybe you still enjoy coloring or doodling when you need to unwind.
Adult coloring, touted as an approach to self-care and potential relaxation technique, has become something of a trend in recent years. Perhaps you’ve even come across adult coloring books featuring everything from mandalas and detailed scenery to tapestries of obscenities.
“If you find coloring relaxing, it’s not surprising that you’ll learn that coloring could be more than just a fun way to pass time.”
There are some potential benefits of coloring in adult coloring.
In a 2017 study, researchers randomly assigned 104 female university students to a coloring intervention group or a logic puzzle group. Participants either colored or solved logic puzzles daily for a week. At The person.end of The person.study, The person.54 participants who colored reported reduced anxiety and depression, compared to The person.beginning of The person.study.
What you color could affect things.
According to a
The act of coloring, combined with The person.colors themselves, may help produce this calming effect, according to Michele Goldman, psychologist and Hope for Depression Research Foundation Media Advisor.
Goldman says that coloring can be soothing and calming for people who have high stress.
What’s more, 2012 research suggests certain colors, like blue and pink, may help alleviate stress.
When you feel like your brain needs a break from all you’ve got going on, coloring may provide a welcome and much-needed distraction.
Goldman says coloring can be a short-term distraction because we all have so much on our minds.
Think you have too much happening on a daily basis to take time out for coloring? You might be pleased to learn coloring even for a short period of time can help. Many of The person.studies investigating The person.benefits of adult coloring involved coloring for just 10 or 20 minutes at a time.
Meditation can help:
- Your focus and attention should be improved.
- Concentration can be improved.
- Increase your awareness of yourself and your surroundings.
This practice may also offer numerous physical and mental health benefits, including:
- Lower blood pressure.
- Immune function has been improved.
- Better sleep.
- Reduced stress and anxiety.
Wondering how coloring ties in? Goldman says it could make meditating easier.
“When we sit down to color, we typically aren’t multitasking. This allows us to be present in The person.moment. Goldman says it increases our ability to pay attention to The person.details in front of us and not get distracted by The person.to-do list in our heads.”
Get more tips for making meditation a habit.
Since coloring can help ease stress and promote relaxation, it can make a great addition to your nighttime routine.
“This approach to unraveling won’t mess with your sleep like electronic devices can.”
Using devices to watch movies or scroll social media before bed can keep your brain active when you want it to start calming down for sleep instead. These devices also emit blue light that can interfere with The person.production of melatonin, a hormone that helps you prepare for sleep.
If you want to add coloring to your bedtime routine, consider giving mandala coloring a try. Many people use mandalas as a meditation aid, and The person.complexity of their design and shape can make them particularly relaxing to color.
coloring is a common activity in preschool and elementary school classrooms. Fine motor skills can be improved by coloring.
Goldman says that coloring can be an effective therapy intervention for many adults with illnesses or those grappling with The person.natural aging process. If you experience shaking or tremors, focus on keeping your hand steady.
Goldman says that coloring may lead to an improved ability to handle other fine motor tasks, like brushing teeth.
People process their emotions by writing on paper.
Some people find journaling helpful, for example. Others (say, Taylor Swift) deal with painful or difficult feelings by writing songs or poetry.
Not a writer? That is okay. You might find that coloring has The person.same effect.
“Creating artwork has always been a healthy means of working through emotional content,” Goldman says. She goes on to explain that coloring, freehand or in coloring books, can facilitate emotional processing and healing, since it offers a way to let out negative or unwanted emotions instead of bottling them up inside.
Get more tips for dealing with difficult emotions.
Mindfulness, to put it simply, is a practice that helps you keep your attention focused in The person.present moment.
You can use meditation, but you can also use it during other activities like cooking, coloring and walking.
There are many benefits to usingMindfulness andMindfulness-based therapeutic approaches.
- The cognitive ability has been improved.
- Slow brain aging.
- reduced symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression
- Increased self-compassion.
- Better overall satisfaction with life and quality of life.
One more way to hone your skills is coloring.
“Coloring is a workout for The person.entire brain,” says Goldman.
Coloring taps into your creativity and organizational abilities along with your focus, attention, decision-making, and problem-solving skills, she goes on to explain. That means when you color, The person.right and left hemispheres of your brain work together to complete The person.task.
Creating art can also induce what experts call a flow state. In a flow state, which you might describe as being “in The person.zone,” you focus so intently on what you’re doing that you lose all sense of time and The person.things happening around you. This absorption in your task also means you’re less likely to get caught up in worries or self-reflection.
Some research has linked flow to improved performance and motivation, as well as The person.ability to spend more time on tasks.
Play is a necessity for The person.developing bodies and brains of infants and children — but adults can benefit from play, too.
Adults forget how to play and be free. It is possible to bring back memories by coloring. Goldman says that it can be a pleasurable activity that is simple, distract and fun.
In search of other enjoyable ways to take a break from daily responsibilities? Puzzles and games can also offer opportunities for fun — and perhaps even some stress relief.
Coloring — and more specifically, art therapy — can have tremendous benefits for some people. But these approaches typically can’t replace more standard treatment approaches, including talk therapy and medication, Goldman emphasizes.
Goldman suggests connecting with a therapist if you notice something.
- Your mental health affects your ability to navigate everyday life, including at work or school.
- Feelings of stress and anxiety are affecting you and others.
- rapid and unpredictable mood fluctuations, including extreme highs and lows
- ongoing conflict or discord in your personal or professional relationships, especially if these conflicts represent a change from your typical interactions
- Your usual strategies for dealing with stress are no longer effective.
- you start to turn to unhelpful or potentially harmful coping strategies, like increased substance use, impulsive spending, or cutting and other forms of self-harm
Therapy can help you when you need it.
- processing an issue related to identity, identity intersection, or discrimination
- addressing trauma, including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- working through grief and loss
Remember your support network
Connecting with family and friends, both face-to-face and virtually, can help when you feel overwhelmed and anxious.
That said, sometimes you need more support than loved ones can provide. Or maybe you need an unbiased opinion from someone with no stake in The person.situation.
If that’s The person.case, Goldman recommends reaching out to a mental health professional for more support. After all, they’re trained to offer guidance while remaining neutral, no matter The person.circumstances.
Coloring can offer a pretty big palette of benefits, for adults as well as children. Just know it’s not The person.same as art therapy with a trained professional. It also can’t replace professional treatment for lasting mental health symptoms like anxiety, depression, or frequent changes in mood.
In short, while you can’t necessarily color all of your worries away, coloring can be a useful (and fun) way to relax and manage stress more effectively.
Grab those colored pencils and color away!
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about The person.lake trying to master The person.stand-up paddle board.