Coloring books aren’t just for kids! Adult coloring books are actually great for your mental, emotional, and intellectual health. Dr. Nikki Martinez, a psychologist, actually recommends adult coloring books to her clients. Many psychologists and therapists “prescribe” coloring to their patients for many reasons. The therapeutic elements that parents gave to their children to be calm or remain entertained are now being applied to adults. Here’s why coloring books benefit adults:
- Your brain experiences relief by entering a meditative state
- Stress and anxiety levels have the potential to be lowered
- Negative thoughts are expelled as you take in positivity
- Focusing on the present helps you achieve mindfulness
- Unplugging from technology promotes creation over consumption
- Coloring can be done by anyone, not just artists or creative types
- It’s a hobby that can be taken with you wherever you go
Adult coloring books vary from the coloring books children love. These books feature more intricate designs, with a higher quality of paper, and a wider selection of themes. City-scapes, flowers, animals, swear words, and mandalas are among the most popular. There are claims that coloring is a form of meditation. When you meditate, your brain enters a state of relaxation by focusing on what is at hand, and blocking out distracting thoughts. As a result, you reach a state of calm that helps your brain turn off those thoughts about the daily stresses of life. Dr. Stan Rodski, a neuropsychologist, mentions, “like meditation, coloring allows us to switch our brains from other thoughts, and focus on the moment. Tasks with predictable results, such as coloring or knitting, can often be calming”.
According to a study published in the Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, coloring mandalas or other geometric patterns actually does help lower stress and anxiety levels. The act of coloring requires repetition and attention to detail, which is why it produces a calming effect on the brain. It also helps bring out our inner child, in a time when our biggest dilemma was what cartoon to watch.
I personally have tried the coloring book apps that are available for the iPhone, but it does not produce the same calming effect that an actual coloring book provides.