WHY COLORING SHOULD BE YOUR NEW HOBBY
Initially, the thought of an adult using a coloring book may cause you to chuckle a bit and wonder, “Isn’t coloring too much of a juvenile activity for an adult?”
Well, you should not be embarrassed about the idea of taking up coloring as a hobby. If you prefer to view my second video about the benefits of coloring therapy, click here.
For all adults, there are times when we need to decompress from the pressures of this world and take time to focus on our own well-being.
We all have several demands that are constantly being placed on us, and it is easy to experience burnout if we do not pull aside and occasionally renew ourselves.
Coloring is a relaxing and creative way to mellow out. In fact, I’ve created a Stress Relief Coloring Book with soothing images to help you quell stress. Consider the various ways that coloring can benefit you. Yes, even as an adult (2).
Coloring as therapy vs. Art Therapy
First, let me make the distinction between “coloring as therapy” vs “art therapy”.
The two are completely different. Art Therapy takes place between a therapist and her/his client to help said client cope better mentally, which is a more intricate process.
On the other hand, coloring only involves the person who is doing the coloring, their coloring book, and their crayons or coloring pencils.
The reasons that the use of coloring pages and coloring books have become so popular is that coloring has been shown to help reduce anxiety, spark our creativity, help us shut down negative thoughts and behaviors, help us explore past hurts and learn how to heal from those hurts, develop our ability to focus, quiet our busy minds, plus a host of other benefits.
Let’s expound a bit more on these topics and how coloring can help us.
Coloring for Mental Therapy
Dealing with Depression?
Albeit small, there are a few studies that have shown that coloring can be used as therapy to deal with occasional bouts of depression (1).
Bright, vibrant colors are therapeutic in helping to lift your mood. Think about how you feel on a bright, sunny day as opposed to a grey, dreary day.
I get excited about going for a nice, long walk on a sunny day simply because the sunshine makes me feel so happy and cheerful.
Well, for similar reasons you can take control of your frame of mind and perk up your own emotions by coloring in your coloring book. In doing so, when you use lively colors such as orange, yellow or bright pink, these colors can help you lighten up and wind down.
It is also inspiring to color images that have a positive or soothing theme.
Think about how you feel when you look at pictures of beautifully decorated rooms or gorgeous scenes of nature. It’s kind of like a “Take me away!!” moment, right?!
By coloring images with a peaceful vibe, your visual senses can automatically transform your thoughts (and mindset) into a more tranquil state.
Coloring to sharpen your memory
If you are concerned about a loved one who may show signs of the onset of dementia, give them a great coloring book and some brightly-colored coloring pencils or crayons. Then allow them to create their own artistic masterpieces.
When you allow your creative juices to flow, it activates the synapses in your brain. Synapses are a network of neurons which communicate with each other in your brain cells, thereby strengthening your memory.
In addition, coloring books and coloring pages are convenient and light-weight tools that you can take with you anywhere so that you can access them when you need a way to quell bouts of dementia (2).
An added benefit…once you have been using coloring books for a while, you may decide to explore your creativity in other areas as well such as painting on canvas, playing a musical instrument, or you may even begin exploratory writing.
Creativity is the spice of life and can open up so many doors of greater enjoyment to you!
Coloring to Reduce Anxiety
If you suffer from anxiety, selecting coloring books that include serene scenes and peaceful images can help set you on the path to a more relaxed demeanor…and most times it does not take a long time to calm down during a coloring session.
Choose coloring pencils or crayons such as soft pinks or light blues because these colors are helpful at reducing anxiety and make you feel more serene.
If you pay close attention, you will notice that your “panic-style” breathing will slow down to a more relaxed pace while coloring as well.
Coloring for stress reduction
Stress, if left unattended, can lead to health issues in your body. It may seem simplistic, but coloring can be an effective antidote to stress (3).
There is a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is where fear is processed. When your mind wants to continue reliving negative events, coloring is a great way to refocus those stress-inducing thoughts to a more peaceful scenario.
Also, if done just before bedtime, coloring can help quell insomnia. I suggest you keep a supply of coloring pages and crayons or coloring pencils to help you wind down when you are feeling frazzled.
Choosing calming colors increases your ability to relax better during your coloring sessions.
Use colors such as muted greys, light pinks or light greens because these colors will help you to calm down.
Conversely, you can choose colors such as reds or dark blues to help you get your aggression out on paper vs. keeping it bottled up in your body.
Remember, the key is to color yourself into a state of calm vs. hoarding those negative feelings in your body and allow them to wreak havoc on your health. You don’t want that!
You need good health to thrive in this earth.
HOW COLORING CAN HELP QUIET YOUR MIND
Practicing “quietness” is one of the most relaxing and therapeutic activities we can do for ourselves.
When our minds are constantly racing with a long list of “to-dos”, feelings of self-doubt, or any other negative thoughts that creep into our minds throughout the day, it can be mentally draining!
One of the ways that I like to wind down and quiet my mind is by tapping into my creativity.
Coloring is a simple yet effective way for you to relax and express your creativity.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how coloring can ease a crowded and noisy mind.
While you are coloring, it’s a good practice to do some deep breathing as well.
Focusing on taking deep breaths is a good way to reduce the power of your thoughts and put them on hold for a few minutes while you just “stay in the moment” of deep-breathing and coloring.
You might find it helpful to set a timer for 20-30 minutes to allow yourself enough time to wind down as you color and practice deep breathing.
Turn off the distractions.
To be sure you maximize your time of quietness during your coloring session, turn off all distractions like your cell phone and the television.
This way you are better equipped to focus only on one thing, which is coloring, to allow yourself to wind down and focus on the task at hand.
This practice may enable you to use the power of focus in other areas of your life as well. And because we can become so easily distracted in our lives, honing the power of focus is one of the best skills we can teach ourselves.