Remember when you were a kid and you would just go crazy over a coloring book or a new box of crayons. As adults, we can transform that excitement into a stress management tool. Adult coloring books are slightly different than the ones we had as kids. Adult coloring books are generally way more intricate and can take a longer amount of time to finish. Because they are more intricate, they allow the mind really to tune out the remainder of the world and just focus on the colors and lines. When using an adult coloring you book, you not only can feel some stress relief but also practice mindfulness along the way.
Adult coloring books have been considered art therapy. It has been shown to help individuals with PTSD, anxiety, and other stress-related issues. Because coloring is such a relaxing activity, it has the power to bring our nervous system from sympathetic (fight or flight) to parasympathetic (rest and digest) mode. It also can spark joyful memories of when we are small, releasing all sorts of feel-good hormones.
All day long we are required to hold focus on things we might not find that interesting. Over time, we may lose the ability to focus long term, especially in this age when there are literally hundreds of ways to distract us from just our phones. Coloring can help sharpen those skills and allow you to focus longer on one task. When you color with an adult coloring book, it changes your mind to focus, while at the same time relieving it of stress and anxiety.
Meditation comes in many different forms. Some people may be surprised to learn that coloring is a form of meditation. Because there is so much focus involved with coloring within intricate lines any other thoughts in your head can be tuned out. While coloring, you can practice techniques like taking deep breaths before grabbing a new color or noticing what’s going on in the body as you work. Coloring peaceful scenic pictures can take the place of meditation just by adding in a little focus on the breath.
Like anything with color, it can be a form of self-expression. Using whatever you like to fill in the empty white spaces can be a way to express how you’re feeling. Sometimes the best way to get our emotions is to draw or color them out. On a day when you are feeling joy or happiness, you might choose to use brighter colors than you would on a day you are feeling a little down. Because this is 100% your time to relax, you can do whatever you like. You can treat your coloring book like a diary or a journal, it can be for your eyes only.
Basically, coloring books were an even greater tool than we thought. It just goes to show you that kids may have gotten it right by obsessing over those black-and-white pages. You can use coloring books for stress management, learning mindfulness, emotional healing, and daily meditation. So, grab your crayons, colored pencils, or markers, and let’s fill in those pages.