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Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

WLR Blog
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2016

Coloring can make you feel like a kid again!

Remember how much fun you had as a child with your coloring books? Recapture that feeling—and draw some health benefits as well—with adult coloring books! 

Researchers have been studying the benefits of coloring for more than a decade, and they’ve found that short coloring sessions can help focus and stimulate creativity. That’s why you might see a high-powered executive spend a few minutes coloring before tackling a thorny problem he or she needs to solve.

Studies show coloring produces a similar effect to meditation on the brain. It promotes mindfulness and quietness of the brain that some people find difficult to achieve with meditation alone. Coloring mandalas or other symmetrical patterns helps achieve mindfulness and even reach a meditative state. As little as 5 minutes of coloring before bedtime may even help you sleep better. 

While coloring doesn’t provide mental health benefits to the same degree as creating art, it may help relieve both stress and boredom, aid relaxation, boost creativity and improve attention span. 

One study published in the American Journal of Applied Psychology found that coloring for 20 minutes significantly improved the subjects’ moods and reduced anxiety, depression and tension. Coloring is also being explored as a way to ease people suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome into art therapy. 

Dr. Nikki Martinez, a mental health counselor and life coach, says she often “prescribes” adult coloring books to patients and has even used them herself. 

“When I was laid up in bed for eight weeks after major surgery, I devoured adult coloring books,” she says. “When I need to shift my focus or practice my own stress reduction, I break these books out.”

Activities like coloring can calm down the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls the fight-or-flight response. Coloring detailed designs also stimulates the parts of the brain that enhance concentration and helps with problem-solving and organizational skills as you focus on creating complex color schemes and make your picture aesthetically pleasing. It improves fine motor skills as you tackle increasingly complex designs. 

Coloring is increasingly popular as a group activity, and it’s fun to do with kids or grandkids. 

If you’d like to explore coloring, you can choose from a variety of coloring books both online and in bookstores. There are books devoted to mandalas, flowers and intricate geometric shapes, and books that include blank sports in the pictures to encourage you to add your own elements. Coloring books top’s best-seller list, and you can find them for as little as $6.00. All you need is a design and a set of colored pencils or markers. Why not give it a try?

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