Be honest: did you color a lot as a child? I used to love to color with my crayons, and it always made me happy. The adult coloring trend has recently exploded, and I have taken part in the trend by getting myself some new books. But for those skeptical, let me tell you that you should jump aboard the adult coloring book train. Why? Because coloring helps mental health.
There is a reason why adult coloring books have flooded the market, with many become best-sellers. Whether it’s beautiful mandalas, animals, or sayings, coloring can bring out our inner child and make us feel better overall. If it didn’t make people feel better, people wouldn’t go crazy for them.
So get your markers, colored pencils, pens, and crayons out. I am going to share a few ways how coloring helps mental health.
Ways Coloring Helps Mental Health
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
By coloring, your brain starts to relax because you are focusing on one simple activity. Any thoughts you had about life or work are no longer taking space in your brain, allowing you to focus on staying between the lines and releasing your creative juices. In fact, a study from 2017 showed that daily coloring participants had lower depression and anxiety levels than non-colorers (Flett et al., 2017). Coloring also helps you slow TF down.
Feel like you are running out of creative juices? Color. Lots of time, our lack of creativity is caused by stress or overthinking. Since coloring makes you focus on what you are doing and removes stress, your mind can end up making a connection or brainstorming ideas when there was nothing. You will end up with new ideas or ways to update current ones.
Find yourself on TikTok before bedtime, and now you can’t sleep? The reason is that your brain isn’t slowing down, and the light can be bad for your eyes. By adding coloring to your bedtime routine, your brain calms down and can help you sleep better. And if you find yourself struggling to fall asleep, get out of bed and color for a bit before trying to fall asleep again.
I am the type of person who takes staying in between the lines seriously. I tend to focus all my energy on staying between the lines and figuring out what colors go where. But did you know that coloring utilizes areas of the brain that enhance focus and concentration? Because of the amount of brain effort you put into coloring, you are improving your focus.
Tips for Keeping Up With Coloring
Do It In Parts
You don’t need to finish an entire coloring page in one sitting especially if it’s a complicated design. Make a plan to break it down, and remember that you can always come back for it later.
Not only should you consider doing it in parts, but you also don’t need to color for an entire hour. All you need is 10 minutes of your day to get some coloring in so that you can start feeling better.
No Need to Spend Lots of Money
No need to spend a fortune on coloring books. Find something within your budget that will work out. A few things you can do are buying a discounted coloring book from a book store; find a child coloring book at the dollar store; find and print Etsy ones, or even create your own by drawing by hand or using a computer program.
You don’t need to color by yourself. The good thing about coloring is that you can do it with anyone, whether it’s your kids, best friends, or parents. Just make sure you set rules on sharing coloring utensils.
One thing to realize is that adult coloring isn’t for everyone. If you enjoyed coloring as a child, you would more than likely enjoy coloring as an adult. A few studies show that adults like doing things they liked as children. Don’t force yourself to enjoy coloring. Coloring helps mental health for those who are actually enjoying themselves.
If you need some coloring book ideas, check out a blog post with some of my favorite coloring books.
I am not a mental health professional nor a doctor. I am just a mental health advocate that enjoys researching things that help me while sharing my experiences.
- Jayde A. M Flett, Celia Lie, Benjamin C Riordan, Laura M Thompson, Tamlin S Conner & Harlene Hayne (2017) Sharpen Your Pencils: Preliminary Evidence that Adult Coloring Reduces Depressive Symptoms and Anxiety, Creativity Research Journal, 29:4, 409-416, DOI: 10.1080/10400419.2017.1376505