Coloring books have been around since the 1960’s, and coloring mandalas dates back centuries. So why now has adult coloring become such a popular trend and global phenomenon with no end in sight? The answer: People around the world are enjoying the activity’s vast benefits and ever-growing selection of published coloring books, and are sharing their successes and artwork in their local communities and on social media.
As a peaceful, mindful, and creative hobby, coloring provides 10 great benefits:
1. Therapeutic as Self-Care
According to some psychologists, coloring can be therapeutic as a means of personal self-care. Taking care of our well-being is a priority, and colorists enjoy a plethora of benefits including stress reduction, pain management, improved concentration and focus, lifting the mind and emotions, sheer fun, inspiration, stimulated creativity, creative accomplishment, as well as relief from mental and emotional issues.
2. Stress Relief
Living in an age of anxiety, stress has become a leading cause of disease. Stress has been associated with heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity and an increase in diabetic symptoms. Because stress is actually a physical reaction to our thought process, it can be relieved by changing that thought process – and that’s what coloring does!
Studies have shown that 20 minutes of structured coloring significantly reduces anxiety. The repetitive motions with a focus on detail induces a meditative-like state that helps us disengage from feelings of anxiety and attain a more soothing peaceful state of mind. Re-discovered as an easy way to relax and decompress, coloring has found a new universal appeal, especially for those who don’t want to rely on medication or other therapies to get their stress under control.
3. A Break from Life and Technology
Let’s face it, we live in a technological-driven, hectic world that has essentially disconnected us from ourselves. The simple act of returning to pencil and paper offers a much needed break from the fast pace of life and all its responsibilities. By providing a visual, mental, and emotional escape from the stresses of everyday life, coloring allows us to tune out the world. It’s important for our health to slow down and schedule this type of peaceful “me time” with ourselves.
4. Therapy for Trauma and Illness
According to Marygrace Bererian, a clinical assistant professor in art therapy at New York University, “Research has shown that art making can have a profound impact on a person’s physical and psychological well-being. And coloring within an outlined structure can help to contain and organize feelings of distress and helplessness.”
Today there are coloring books specifically to help people get through tough times, such as to alleviate anxiety, release anger, or deal with grief or depression. There are even Facebook groups created for colorists with all types of chronic illness, who are sharing how coloring is helping them cope. (Please note: coloring is not a substitute for getting professional help for your health problems, physical, mental or emotional).
5. A Unique Way to Be Social
Coloring allows a diverse group of people to connect and bond through creativity; individuals of all creative abilities, socioeconomic standings, races, gender and backgrounds meet for their love of coloring. It is a low-cost, low-maintenance, and safe way to socialize and overcome isolation and loneliness.
People in cities get together at libraries, at coloring parties, events and classes, and at meetups at coffee shops, pubs and restaurants. Coloring enthusiasts from many countries around the world have founded a wonderful global community online in Facebook groups in which to converse and share their creative play.
6. Purposeful Way to Spend Time
In general, coloring is a meaningful way to spend a period of time because it provides so many personal benefits. As a planned social activity with friends, it allows us to connect with others for a while. And as a time-filler, it’s a healthy alternative to getting stressed- out waiting for an appointment, at the airport, or commuting.
7. Increased Concentration and Focus
While coloring helps children with skills such as writing, hand-eye coordination, and shape and color recognition, adults are benefiting from an increase in concentration and positive focus. In great contrast to the extremely short attention span of society at large, colorists may enjoy many minutes, if not hours, of concentration. With a total focus on the page in front of us, we are absorbed in what’s happening in the moment. It is an activity of being in the now, one of the simplest forms of meditation.
8. Freedom to Be Creative
Coloring books for adults are topping Amazon’s best seller list because every grown-up has an inner child that wants to play! We all have a creative side and coloring provides an outlet for developing that part of ourselves. Creative self-expression is right-brain activity and exercises our mental faculty of imagination. Your imagination is your guide, and there are no rules in coloring! It’s simple, easy, and freeing, and allows anyone to discover their creative spark and own sense of style.
9. Creative Accomplishment and Inspiration
Coloring books have a high rate of artistic success because coloring inside the lines eliminates performance anxiety that might come with sketching or drawing a picture. Even though we are not all artistic types doesn’t mean we don’t long for the recognition of completing something artsy that looks great. Coloring gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Today there are hundreds of indie artist themed coloring books available. Even established artists are publishing books, so it’s easy to find something you love to color and make your own. There is opportunity for anyone – from beginner to advanced – to get inspired and create something unique. Who knows, your inner-artist’s originality may totally surprise you!
10. It’s FUN!
And let’s not forget a very obvious reason adults are coloring now – because it’s fun! We have rediscovered a joyful childhood activity that’s simple, easy, and emotional uplifting. In fact, once you get on the coloring bandwagon, you’re hooked – it feels so good you never want to get off!