Forget about the idea that coloring books are for kids. In a busy world, increasingly dominated by time spent in front of screens, grown-ups are turning to the soothing art of coloring in. But the books we're talking about are not reminiscent of the freebie coloring sheets handed out at chain restaurants that we remember from our childhoods. These are intricately designed books, some created specifically to help you de-stress and focus the mind.
When choosing a coloring-in book with more complex or abstract images the convention is generally to keep different colors within different lines. This requires a relaxed focus where the outline is containing and the mark-making repetitive and smooth. So a bit like repeating a mantra where repetition is a means to relaxation, coloring-in is also a type of mediation.”
Why all of this fuss over coloring books? Turns out, there are some amazing benefits that are now being validated by actual research on adult coloring.
JUST WHAT ARE THESE BENEFITS?
Coloring relaxes the amygdala — the fear center of the brain. This is an area that is stimulated when stress levels are high, whether from the demands of work or personal lives. Coloring, in effect, lets the mind get some rest. Coloring, then, effectively allows stressed out folks to forget their problems of the moment and return to a time when life was so simple.
Other psychologists state that coloring books open up the frontal lobes of the brain, with the inherent “demand” that people stay in the lines. These are the parts that control organization and problem solving. As well, it forces both sides of the brain to work together - the logical left side (staying in those lines) and the more creative right side (choices of colors, shading…).
Adults bringing their favorite books and sharing conversation and a glass of wine as they color together. What everyone who attended these gatherings seems to love is that no one has to be an artist, but they can be artistic with color and shading.
Doctors and others who treat cancer patients are finding, at least with women so far, that coloring books appear to reduce both the physical and mental distress of cancer treatment. They are more relaxed, more positive, and complain far less of the physical side effects of treatment. An additional benefit seems to be a lowered heart rate.
Sense of Accomplishment
When an adult finishes a particularly intricate mandala or other design, there is a strong sense of accomplishment. In fact, many are framing their finished products for wall décor. And coloring book publishers are accommodating this by producing books that have card-stock pages just for that purpose.
Something for Everyone
The vast array of adult coloring books on the market today means that anyone, male or female, can find some that are appealing.
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