Coloring For Stress Relief: Does It Help?

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Coloring For Stress Relief

As mental stress is very common, it's always good to have a creative approach to deal with it. Use of creative art, especially coloring has great potential in reducing our stress level. Adult coloring books are latest trends and many physicians are using it therapeutically for improving mental health. Coloring is an alternative to meditation, has intellectual benefits, and is portable.

Importance Of Coloring

Of course, coloring is an activity that kept so many of us entertained during our childhood. Crayons and coloring pencils used to be recognized as the instrument of elementary school, but recently, coloring has made a huge comeback in the adult’s world. Adults across the world are taking the help of this awesome creative activity to relax and unwind.

Coloring has shown great benefits for adults. It generates wellness, quietness, and mindfulness. And nowadays, recognized as a latest creative trend. It brings us back to a simple time like childhood. It can take you out of your present worries and let your brain have much-needed rest and relaxation.

Coloring explores the relationship between engagement with creative art and health outcome.1 It concludes that all art-based interventions (such as visual art therapy, music, and creative writing) are effective in reducing adverse physiological and psychological outcomes. These activities show potential benefits in enhancing health and wellness. Over the several years, additional studies have continued to link between coloring and better mental health and wellness.

Marygrace Berberian says, “Definitely coloring does offer a slew of mental benefits. It has a potential to reduce anxiety, create or bring more mindfulness. In 2005, a ground-breaking research proved that anxiety level drops when subjects color mandala – which are round frames with geometric pattern side”.2

Did you know, an average person has 60,000 thoughts per day and 95% of them are exactly the same day in, day out?3 And creating art provides a distraction, giving a break to our brain from usual thoughts. It allows us to focus only on the moment and helps us alleviate free-floating anxiety. And leaves us to feel clear and calm.

How Does Coloring Relieve Stress?

Carl Jung was the first psychologist who used applying colors as a relaxation technique for his patients.4 He recommended coloring mandalas to his patients, as he believed they represent the “inner process by which individuals grow towards fulfilling their potential for wholeness”.

According to famous psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala, when coloring, we activate different areas of two cerebral hemispheres. The action involves both – logic by which we color forms, and creativity when we mix and match colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills. Thus, this activity ultimately lowers the activity of Amygdala – a basic part of our brain that involves in controlling emotions affected by stress.

Stress Relief And Better Control Of Negative Thought

Coloring has an amazing power to de-stress and helps in better control of negative thoughts. Whenever we get involved in coloring, the spark of creativity produces an immediate soothing effect on mental status. Stress and anxiety level gets lowered. Negative thoughts are expelled so easily and we get an improved mood and positive mental status.

Of course, coloring wouldn’t make our problems disappear, but it will certainly put them on hold for the time being.

Adult Coloring Books

According to Cleveland clinic, adult coloring books are the latest craze. They have become a popular form of relaxation. Dr. Bea explains the prominent reasons about how adult coloring books can be calming. According to him, “coloring takes your attention away from yourself. And when your thoughts are focused on a simpler activity, your brain tends to get relaxed”. We are not disturbed by our own thoughts and appraisals, he says. “The difficulties of life evaporate from our awareness and our body and brain may find this rewarding”.

Apart from this great de-stressing power, coloring offers some other great benefits too.

4 Benefits Of Coloring

1. Coloring Could Be A New Alternative To Meditation

Coloring Could Be A New Alternative To Meditation

The psychological benefits of meditation and mindfulness have been well studied. And most of the people often find it difficult to ‘turn off’ and calm the mind. According to certain studies, coloring elicits a relaxing mindset similar to what we would have achieved through the meditation. Coloring is a much easier option, as it does not require any active concentration.

2. Coloring Has Intellectual Benefits Too

Coloring Has Intellectual Benefits Too

Apart from stress relief, coloring has offered some great intellectual benefits. Whenever anyone gets involved in the beautiful world of colors, he always has a good focus and concentration power. It improves organizational and problem-solving skill, as well.

Studies show that coloring utilizes areas of the brain that enhance focus and concentration power. Our frontal lobes are responsible for these higher level activities and function of the brain. Coloring activates all these intellectual properties. Secondly, coloring utilizes both hemispheres of the brain, right and left. Whenever we think about balance, coloring combination, and applying colors, we automatically work on our problem solving and fine motor skill.

3. It Is A Perfect Example Of “Mom-And-Me Activity”

It Is A Perfect Example Of "Mom-And-Me Activity"

Coloring is a perfect example of “Mom-and-me activity”. Even young kids love coloring. They get great fun while exploring creativity and imagination.

Here, the icing on the cake is that coloring has numerous wonderful benefits for kids too.5

Benefits Of Coloring For Kids

  • They would be able to recognize colors much more properly
  • They get proper grip and develop fine motor skills easily
  • They just love it, as it’s great as a boredom buster too
  • It explores creativity and imagination power in kids
  • They get better focus, hand-to-eye coordination, and concentration capability while having fun
  • It contributes to better handwriting
  • They have improved confidence and self-esteem
  • Coloring has intellectual benefits

4. It Is A Hobby That We Can Take Wherever We Go

It Is A Hobby That We Can Take Wherever We Go

There are times when we have been in an airport or waiting for long at doctor’s clinic with nothing to do. Here, waiting seems so hard and endless. And of course, during those situations, we want to do something calming. This is where having a coloring book and pencil come in handy. Not all hobbies can be easily accessible everywhere. But coloring is a hobby that is easily portable. And you can take it easily wherever you go. It is a great way to ease boredom with fun and creativity.

So these are some amazing benefits of coloring while always having a fun and spark of creativity. Have you ever tried to explore the beautiful world of colors? What are your thoughts? Please share with us.

References   [ + ]

1.The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature. National Institute of Health.
2.Why Adult Coloring Books Are Good For You. The Senior Scoop.
3.Shimoff, Marci, and Carol Kline. Happy for no reason: 7 steps to being happy from the inside out. Simon and Schuster, 2009.
4.Jung and Mandala. Carl Jung Resources.
5.10 Benefits of Coloring Pages for Kids’ Psychology and Development. Color Psychology.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Surbhi Prapanna

Surbhi is a homeopathic physician by profession, a writer, and a blogger by passion. She is a gold medalist in homeopathy and has more than 5 years of experience in the teaching and clinical field of homeopathy. She loves sharing the goodness of homeopathy with others through her writing. Surbhi started her writing journey at the age of 17 and published articles in various newspaper and magazines. After a break, she resumed her journey as a health expert and a parenting blogger 2 years ago. Her work has appeared in various prestigious parenting and health websites (elephant journal, red tricycle, today parenting) across the web. She believes in the concept of real food and green living and loves exploring and sharing ways to live a healthy and happy life with others.

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