Why Coloring Books for Adults?
Let’s be honest…Part of being an adult involves coping with various degrees of stress and anxiety. Oftentimes people combat that stress by watching TV, playing with Apps on their phones or by reading a magazine or novel. While there is nothing wrong with these activities - they are mere distractions from daily life – and don’t play a significant role in calming and quieting the mind.
The benefits of coloring have been compared to those of meditation. People who meditate know that the goal is to reach a state of “mindfulness,” where one cannot focus on the past or ruminate on the future. Meditation pushes you to exist in the moment, thus greatly reducing anxiety and stress. It can be argued that coloring offers the same benefits - the outline and scope of the image is already on the page so there is no pressure to produce a great work of art. But coloring the image does require significant – but manageable – focus, thus allowing the individual to quiet the mind as one does in meditation.
What Do the Scientists Say?
Research shows this form of therapy often has tangible results. Coloring is said to calm the amygdala, the part of the brain related to the fear/stress response while stimulating the parts of the brain responsible for creativity and logic. A 2005 study documented a reduction in anxiety in subjects after a short time of coloring geometric patterns.
In 2006, a study found that mindfulness art therapy for women with cancer helped to significantly decrease symptoms of physical and emotional distress during treatment. Another study from the same year concluded that after only one hour of art therapy, adult cancer patients of all ages “overwhelmingly expressed comfort” and a desire to continue with the therapy.