Sharpen your pencils, put on some music, it’s time for alternative self-care.
That’s right: Coloring—the timeless activity beloved by children everywhere—is full of health benefits for adults, too!
From a stronger attention span and enhanced emotional awareness to the cultivation of a greater sense of calm, the advantages of coloring go far beyond fun, research increasingly suggests.
In a study of 84 college students, for example, researchers concluded that “structured coloring of a reasonably complex geometric pattern may induce a meditative state that benefits individuals suffering from anxiety.”
At Culture to Color, we’ve known all along that coloring is good for the mind and the body—but now we know why.
“Adult coloring requires modest attention focused outside of self-awareness,” says clinical psychologist Scott M. Bea, PsyD. “It’s a simple activity that takes us outside ourselves in the same way cutting the lawn, knitting or taking a Sunday drive can all be relaxing.”
According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are three primary reasons why coloring is good for mental health:
1. Coloring centers our attention
When we color, the mind automatically focuses on a simple physical activity that takes our attention off of ourselves, our cares, and the things that are causing stress in our lives.
Many people identify this feeling of truly “being in the moment” as the best part of the experience.
2. Coloring relaxes the mind
It’s just challenging enough to require our concentration, but simple enough to let the mind rest from the ceaseless waves of complex planning and problem-solving that fill our days.
Some enthusiasts take the relaxation a step further by playing their favorite music while they color.
3. The stakes are low
Unlike most of what we do during an average day—especially in a professional setting—there are no risks when we color. The worst that can happen is a slip of the pencil outside the lines.
In other words, the playful aspect of coloring is in itself a powerful health benefit. How many of our daily activities give us the freedom to make mistakes without consequences?
Mindfulness Through Art
A growing field of psychological research focuses on a form of treatment called mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT), which immerses patients in a variety of art media to improve mental health.
As a formal therapy, MBAT sheds light on the health and well-being benefits of coloring, which is a very similar activity to the mixed-media approach used by therapists.
For example, a 2005 study on the benefits of MBAT studied its effects among 111 women with cancer. Those in the study who participated in Art Therapy demonstrated “a significant decrease in symptoms of distress and significant improvements in key aspects of health-related quality of life” compared to the control group.
In other research, MBAT has been connected to improvement in cases of:
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse (relapse prevention)
- Depressive disorders
- Stress-related issues
- Anger-related issues
Give Yourself the Gift of Relaxation
Culture to Color has curated stories from some of the most beautiful and historic locations around the world, from Tuscany to San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Our books feature classic designs for color artists of all ages, while providing the delightful and fascinating stories that you would otherwise need to travel far and wide to discover.
So come along as we explore our world in one of the most relaxing and rewarding ways imaginable! Here’s to your health!
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