Adult coloring books have become trendy recently, especially for those suffering stress and anxiety. But can they really help improve our health? The answer may surprise you. The answer is Yes! Discover 7 proven benefits of coloring pages for adults and how they support your health and well-being.
Coloring Pages for Adults
Coloring isn’t just an activity for kids. Although there is most definitely a difference between adults and kids coloring activities! Children’s coloring books are usually simple designs to help them with color awareness. Coloring books for adults are different. They are themed coloring filled with imagery and concepts based on subjects that adults like to color.
Develop Mindfulness with Coloring Pages For Adults
Adult coloring books are great for helping us remain truly present. When we color we concentrate on the sensations of coloring as well as the act. We become aware of the smell of the marker and how the crayon feels between our fingers.
We focus when choosing the next color and we need to be present when selecting the specific shades of color that will complement our image. All of these simple tasks keep us focused on the here and now, and our thoughts remain positive and optimistic.
1. Gain A Calm Meditative State
Coloring books are a great way to gain calm and help enter a meditative state. Because your awareness is focused on what you are doing, it brings you into a state of mindfulness, where nothing matters but coloring inside the lines. Coloring requires modest attention focused on anything other than what you’re coloring.
Coloring works as a way we can achieve a sense of calm and relaxation, It allows us to focus our attention on the present moment. It is an excellent tool for anyone who has difficulty with sleep. The simple activity of using a coloring book before bed will help you relax. And unlike the blue light from our phones, televisions and computers, adult coloring doesn’t screw up your production of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate sleep.
2. Coloring Can Help Brain Function
Coloring activates and stimulates all hemispheres of the brain, allowing for increased creativity and problem-solving. It is a task where all parts of the brain work together to achieve a common outcome.
The frontal lobe of your brain is responsible for decision-making and concentration which helps you focus on the task. The right side of your brain is creative so is engaged with choosing the colored pencils, the shades, and the beauty of coloring. Whereas the left is organized and will keep you inside the lines. Overall it can help improve brain function, enhance cognitive ability and gain mental clarity.
Improve Fine Motor Skills
One of the therapeutic benefits of coloring pages for adults is it helps to improve motor skills. Coloring needs precise movements and coordination between the hand and the eye, which helps strengthen the fine motor skills in adults.
3. Coloring Pages For Adults Can Relieve Stress, Reduce Anxiety and Replace Negative Thinking.
Many adults enjoy coloring as a way to wind down, relax and relieve stress after a long day at work. And so coloring is a form of therapy as well as a way to gain relaxation.
If you experience anxiety and stress coloring may be the answer! The simple act of coloring is said to help us replace negative thinking with thoughts that are more positive and more beneficial to us.
The science, or logic behind this is the focus that coloring requires. When we color we are intently focused on one task. This makes thinking about negative issues almost impossible. In fact research shows that when people spend time coloring, their negative thought patterns decrease.
The theory is that negativity thinking is replaced with positive thoughts because of the pleasure we feel when coloring. The act of matching colors, choosing shades and then celebrating, even if internally, a page well completed boosts our self image.
The Science Supporting Coloring Pages For Adults.
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 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
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 make us feel bad and we start to dwell on uncertainty. The awful thing is many of these worries don’t really exist. And life is spent worrying about things that won’t ever happen!
Adult coloring can actually relax us to the extent that our negative thinking begins to fade away. Negative emotions are replaced by more positive ones and we experience happiness, joy and creativity.
4. Self Soothe and Relax Your Brain with Coloring Books For Adults
Since coloring can help remove negativity it is also a great form of stress relief. It helps you actually relax your brain and self soothe. Self soothing is an important part of nurturing ourselves, but is often forgotten if we experience anxiety, pressure or stress.
Self soothing is the way we help ourselves recover from stress, shock, and trauma. For some people that’s grabbing an ice-cream or large vodka! For others its talking through the experience with friends or family. Some enlist the support of therapy with mental health professionals.
In most cases the way you choose to self soothe is less important than you actually doing it. When we encounter stress, feel anxious or have fears we cannot just ignore them. Your need for soothing doesn’t go away and the need for feeling OK again continues to press on you.
One of the health benefits of coloring is that it lowers stress levels and allows us to self soothe. Coloring is one way we can regain our sense of calm. When we start coloring the repetitive nature of the task and the need to focus allows us to find peace, comfort and to feel safe.
Another way that coloring helps is the almost meditative mindset it places us in. When we are present and focused we are in a state of self soothing.
5. Using Adult Coloring Books For Stress Relief
You will have seen the ads offering free coloring pages everywhere. Facebook, Amazon, Instagram and more. “Adult Coloring” being lauded as a way to reduce stress. Many may write it off as a gimmick. But the reality is that research shows us that coloring is good for many stress related issues.
One study entitled “Can Coloring Mandalas Reduce Anxiety?” provides valid evidence that coloring geometric patterns does help lower anxiety levels.
The research was focused on coloring therapy which combined elements of art 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 those given plain paper had very little reduction in anxiety.
It is believed that coloring complex and structured geometric patterns allowed participants to enter a meditative like state. And this state is what helped reduce their anxiety
Coloring Pages For Adults Reduce Stress And Anxiety
Researchers also found that people who are regular users of adult coloring books can also handle times of stress better than those who do not color. Those that engaged in coloring managed to avoid becoming entangled by negative emotions when they encountered stressful situations.
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 coloring was essential for reducing stress, anxiety and fear during the periods when patients were undergoing cancer treatment.
6. Benefits of Coloring Pages For Adults Concentration and Focus
It will come as no surprise that our daily life is full of constant distraction. The busyness of daily life, the distraction of laptops, and phones and obligations to family, friends and even pets make it hard for a lot of people to focus when needed.
That’s where coloring comes to the rescue!
Studies all indicate that adults who have difficulty focusing or concentrating make significant improvement if they begin a routine of coloring.
The theory is that we develop an ability to focus and concentrate due to the basic and repetitive motions of coloring.
Other benefits to coloring research shows that coloring engages part of our cerebral cortex and we relax the amygdala, the brain’s fear center. This helps us relax and we feel at peace.
The use and choice of color may also influence the benefits we experience.
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.
7. Coloring Helps Build Mental Strength.
We now know that coloring books can help us reduce stress in tough times. However because coloring pages for adults and adult coloring books are filled with complex and geometric patterns it encourages us to be more deliberate, use logical thinking and become mentally and emotionally stronger.
When we use the coloring pages we open up the frontal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for organizing and problem solving. And this helps us focus our mind.
Adult coloring improves our ability to reason because our brain has to focus and select colors to achieve a specific outcome. Additionally some research indicates that coloring is so effective for activating the cerebral cortex that it may help to delay, or even prevent, illnesses associated with aging such as dementia.
Coloring can be a wonderful way to enhance our life. The books are often inexpensive, coloring supplies easily accessed and there are many coloring apps available for those who feel the need to remain digitally engaged. While not intended to replace art therapy you now know 7 reasons coloring pages for adults can actually enhance your health and well-being. If you like coloring or are interested in coloring pages we encourage you to treat your inner child and start today!