Coloring pages for adults have become a hot trend recently, especially for those suffering stress and anxiety. But can they really help improve our health? The answer is Yes! In this post we look at 5 proven ways coloring helps improve our health and wellbeing.
1. Help Replace Patterns of Negative Thinking
Are you kept awake at night worrying about bills? Do you hold anxiety or stress about your health, your family or your future? Well coloring pages for adults may be the answer! The simple act of coloring may help you replace thought patterns of negative thinking with more beneficial and positive ones.
The science, or logic behind this is due to the focus that coloring needs. When coloring we intently focus on this one task which makes concentrating on other, more negative, issues almost impossible. Research has found that when people spend time coloring, their negative thought patterns decrease.
It is believed that our negativity is replaced with more positive thoughts just through the sense of pleasure we receive when matching colors, choosing patterns and celebrating, even if internally, a colouring page well completed.
There is real science behind these theories. Neuropsychologist Dr. Stan Rodski said of the clients that were referred to him:
‘I was struggling with executives, managers, people who would normally be referred to me with stress, who just found it enormously difficult to do deep breathing, relaxation or meditation’Dr. Stan Rodski
However when introduced to coloring pages for adults Dr Rodski says:
“The reality is that we actually enjoy the process. It’s a process that takes us to a time that is stress free.
We now have technology that can measure brainwaves and heart rhythms that allows us to examine the impact certain things that you do have on the brain and its reactions.
When coloring the most amazing things occurred, we started seeing changes in heart rate, changes in brainwaves.
There are three key elements—repetition, pattern and detail—that prompt positive neurological responses in participants.Dr Stan Rodski
So when we worry about our fears, or focus on anger and resentment we enter a state of almost constant negativity.
These negative emotions are destructive. They simply make us feel bad and we start to dwell on uncertainty. The awful things is many of these worries don’t really exist. So our life is spent worrying about things that won’t ever happen!
When we start the practice of coloring, our negative emotions fade away. Plus these negative emotions are gradually replaced with more positive ones. Likewise any fears and resentments are replaced with feelings of happiness, joy and creativity.
2. Help To Self Soothe
Self soothing is a natural response. But sometimes due to anxiety, pressure and stress we forget to apply the practice of soothing and nurturing ourseves.
Self soothing is the process that controls our body’s stress activation system or the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. It is a vital factor for keeping our mental and physical health in good shape..
It may come as no surprise that those people who can positively influence how their bodies deal with trauma and stress are much more resilient and are less likely to suffer from self doubt and low self esteem.
Re-learning how to self soothe is a key skill, and will help your emotional well being in times of trauma.
Another positive outcome of coloring is the almost meditative mindset it places you in. This state of being replicates the self soothing state.
Researchers have found that those people who engaged in coloring as a pastime dealt with times of stress better. They also managed to avoid getting overly entangled with the negative emotions associated with stress and trauma.
Here is more evidence that coloring pages help health. A 2006 study “A randomized, controlled trial of mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT) for women with cancer” by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University found that art therapy and coloring in particular was essential for reducing stress, anxiety and fear during women’s cancer treatment periods.
3. Coloring Pages For Adults Help With Stress and Anxiety
You will have seen the ads everywhere. Facebook, Amazon, News Stories etc. Coloring books being lauded as the next miracle cure for those trying to reduce stress and anxiety levels. While many may write it off and view it as a gimmick the reality is the claims about coloring are true!
A study entitled “Can Coloring Mandalas Reduce Anxiety?” published in Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association provides valid evidence that coloring mandalas or other geometric patterns does indeed help lower stress and anxiety levels.
The researchers interest was the examination of coloring therapy which “combines elements of art therapy and meditation”.
In the study, 84 undergraduate students received “a brief anxiety-induction,” and were randomly assigned to color either a mandala, a plaid form, or were given a blank piece of paper.
The study found that anxiety levels declined for those given the mandala, as did those with the plaid. Those however with the plain unstructured paper had very little reduction in anxiety.
It is believed that the complexity and structure of mandala or geometric designs when being coloured actually drew the participants into a meditative like state. And this state is what helped reduce their anxiety.
4. Helps Encourage Yourself To Be Present
It will come as no surprise that people in todays society face constant distractions more than ever before With the hustle and bustle of our lives, the electronic attention grabbers like laptops, phones and tablets, and the obligations to family, friends and even pets it can be hard for many to focus when needed.
Thats where coloring pages for adults come to the rescue!
Studies all indicate that Adults who have issues with focus or concentration find significant improvement after implementing a coloring book routine.
The theory is that we develop the ability to focus and concentrate, and be present because of the basic, repetitive motions, involved when we color. Other theories expand on this even more. They state that coloring engages parts of our cerebral cortex while relaxing the amygdala, the brain’s fear center, helping us relax and feel at peace.
Significantly the choice of color has a lot to do with the benefits experienced.
The journal, Frontiers in Psychology, published a study in 2015 “Color And Psychological Functioning” in which the relationship between colors and mood were explored. Cool colors like blue and green were said to evoke calming and peaceful feelings, while hot colors such as red and orange were seen to be enlivening and energizing.
Plus just the simple things when coloring help us to remain truly present. The process allows us to concentrate on the sensations of coloring as well as the act. Such as how does the crayon, or marker, feel between our fingers? Do we notice any smell?
We also need to focus and be present when choosing the next color or when we select specific shades of color. All of these tasks makes us intent on being in the here and now, while keeping our thoughts and feelings positive and optimistic.
5. Helps To Build Mental Strength
We now know that coloring books can help us reduce stress in those really tough times. However coloring pages for adults can also train our thought patterns and therefore our brain. This can help make us more efficient, develop our logical thinking and actually help is become mentally and emotionally stronger.
So coloring pages help health by making us mentally sharper and therefore healthier. The act of coloring opens up the frontal lobe of the brain, which is where our organizing and problem solving functions are. This focuses the mind.
The pastime also helps improve our ability to reason because coloring gives our brain a chance to focus selectively. Additionally is believed that coloring is so efficient in activating the cerebral cortex that the pastime may help to delay or event prevent illnesses associated with aging, such as dementia.
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