The Scientific Benefits of Coloring
If research-backed facts are the kind of thing that sparks your interest, wellness expert Brett Blumenthal is about to be your new favorite person. Her book, 52 Small Changes for the Mind, teaches that small lifestyle changes are the foundation of overall health and well-being, leading to improved memory, less stress, increased productivity and sustained happiness. Here, Brett tackles the following question: Why are coloring books such a hit?
Walk into any bookstore today and you’ll find a whole table—maybe even a whole bookcase—dedicated to adult coloring books.
I’m not talking about “mature content”; rather, these coloring books, unlike versions geared towards children, have detailed images with fine lines that require focus to complete. While it may seem like everyone is regressing back to childhood, there’s a good reason why adult coloring books are so popular.
Put simply, it’s all about cultivating a creative outlet.
Why Creativity Matters
In a 2010 review published by the American Journal of Public Health, researchers looked at more than one hundred studies about the impact of art on health and healing. What they found was a clear connection between the two.
Participating in creative therapies—such as art, performance, writing, and playing music—has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, distress, depression, and negative emotions. Further, they can improve flow and spontaneity, expression, positive identity, and positive emotions.
Enjoying a creative outlet is a fun yet productive way to give your mind a break from day-to-day responsibilities. When we immerse ourselves in something creative, we become distracted from our stressors, and walk away from our session with a clearer mind and more relaxed. When we are creative, we give ourselves freedom to explore and express ourselves in a way that is most natural and comfortable to us, which allows for a deeper level of self-awareness.
Expression through creativity also builds confidence and self-esteem: you are in full control of what you do creatively, as opposed to relying on what others think or want.
Find Your Coloring Book
Whether you enjoyed coloring books as a kid or not, you can take advantage of this creativity-boosting activity now:
- Pick a Genre: It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the choices, so start by buying one coloring book that features images of things you enjoy: animals, patterns, tattoos … etc. Here are some ideas.
- Pick a Color Palette: What are your top 3 favorite colors? Create color palettes that focus on colors you love! This is YOUR art—if you don’t love orange, don’t use it.
- Schedule Coloring Time: Make time to enjoy coloring. Take a coloring book with you on the train during your commute, or block off a period on your calendar so you are more likely to take the break to create. Try 10-15 minutes, 3-5 times per week.
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Like Brett’s advice? You’ll probably also like her 10 simple ways to get back into reading again. Here are some other posts you might be interested in:
- 12 New Grown-Up Coloring Books You’ll Love
- Coloring Fantastic Structures Around the World
- How to Throw a Coloring Party
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