If you think back to what you did for fun as a kid, there’s a couple of different activities that probably come to mind. There’s a list of past times that are universally enjoyed by all kids day in and day out and usually these things are bike riding, playing jump rope, playing hide and seek, etc. Coloring is one of these activities that was done by all children almost at all times. We’re even taught in preschool and kindergarten how exactly to color to stay in the lines and the different materials and options that you can color with. If you can remember a time that you were coloring, you were probably feeling at peace and happy.
If you’re reading this right now and catch yourself wishing you were back in simpler times, you’re in luck (sort of!) because although you can’t be a kid again, there are coloring books made for adults! Useful as a stress reliever, or just for fun, adult coloring books have therapeutic values to them. The reason coloring is so calming is because it’s so simple. This mindless action lets you take a second to turn off your brain from any negative thoughts you have and focus on something else.
Art therapy is a form of therapy that allows the client to express themselves by creating artwork, which is then analyzed with the therapist who talks them through what they just made to figure out how exactly the client is feeling. Although adult coloring can’t officially be considered art therapy because there’s no client/therapist relationship, it does have some of the same benefits and healing powers. Coloring books are perfect for those who aren’t artistically talented, since the objects and shapes are already drawn for you, and all you have to do is simply stay within the lines while you color and it gives the same positive effect to the brain as if you drew the images yourself!
According to Dr. Stan Rodski, a neuropsychologist that also created his own adult coloring books, one reason coloring is therapeutic is because it’s an activity with a predictable outcome and this is relieving for someone who suffers with anxiety. It allows you to be doing something and keeping your mind occupied, and you don’t need to worry what the result is going to be. You can separate yourself from the world and give yourself time to focus your mind. This will help you be more self-aware and control your attention, which in the end will benefits you greatly in life in general. Sometimes it’s the mindless activities that are the best coping mechanisms when you need a break from reality. Think about it this way, there’s a reason why so many kids love to color, so why wouldn’t adults enjoy it too?
If you’re looking to try this out, I highly recommend the “Color Me” series by certified art therapist Lacy Mucklo, and illustrated by Angela Porter. These books are perfect because they’re made up of stress-relieving patterns.
And if you’re bold and really interested in getting creative, try this watercolor coloring book by designer Kristy Rice! She has gorgeous designs in her “Painterly Days” coloring books that will really help bring out your creativity.
If for any reason at all that you decide you want to buy a coloring book, do it for the fun of it! So turn off your brain for a little and pick up some crayons (or watercolors, markers, pencils….), channel your inner 5 year old, and get to coloring!