Coloring: No Longer Just for Kids! How it Can Help Adults Reduce Stress

Have you ever watched a child as they delve into their favorite coloring books? Have you seen their perplexing concentration, enjoyment and noticed the complete atmosphere of serenity that surrounds them? Does this aura make you as an adult a little bit, well, jealous? Or perhaps you are embarrassed because you also secretly enjoy this nostalgic past time?

The time for those negative feelings has officially passed, ladies and gentlemen! You too can openly partake in this pleasurable and stress-free activity these days. Research has shown that coloring is not for only children– it’s for humans as a whole.

According to the Global Healing Centre, art therapy, such as coloring, is an excellent tool for adults as well as children to improve their mental and emotional states. Coloring assists us in interpreting the world around us because it gives us an understanding of what we are emotionally experiencing and feeling. Similar to the act of meditation, the act of moving your hands across the pages to intricately fill the lines clears the mind and allows for a clear perspective, which can lead to emotional benefits and realizations.

Every color has a different psychological effect on us. For example, red induces a feeling of excitement and energy, which might benefit someone in an emotional downfall or lacking energy. On the other hand, green and yellow are calming and soothing colors, which assists those suffering anxiety and emotional stress. When we color, we unconsciously choose the colors we use depending on our mental states; through the colors our mind leads us to choose, we help our brains alter in whatever way is needed. For more on color, please click here.

What is more interesting is that the more complex the patterns, the more benefit “color therapy” has. During a study performed by the American Art Therapy Association regarding anxiety in relation to coloring, a group of undergraduates (willingly) underwent a brief anxiety-inducing exercise; afterward, participants were randomly given a blank piece of paper, a plaid design or a complex mandala to color. The study showed that the individuals who colored the mandala (the most obscure of all the designs) experienced the most meditative and beneficial state. Unlike children’s coloring books, the ones geared towards adult audiences has more capacity to be complex and, thusly, greatly benefit the more matured mind.

But most of all, coloring is fun. And there is something out there for every grown up to enjoy! From coloring books centered around classic art pieces to mandalas to coloring books focused on our favorite TV shows (Game of Thrones coloring book, anyone?), the market is large and variable.

 

Photo source: flickr via Loy Pinheiro

 

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