6 Reasons Adult Coloring Books Are Great for Your Mental, Emotional and Intellectual Health
Why COloring BOOKS?
Today is #nationalcoloringbookday. In honor of this day, we at Palm Gardens Adult Day Health Care crew planned an art therapy morning session all focused around coloring books.
Did you know that coloring books have health benefits?
Free Coloring Book
Adult coloring books can help with a number of emotional and mental health issues. For many, boredom, lack of structure, and stress are the greatest triggers they have. This applies to individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety disorders, stress disorders, depressive disorders, eating and binge eating disorders, anger management issues, and substance abuse issues. The time and focus that adult coloring takes helps the individual remove the focus from the negative issues and habits, and focus them in a safe and productive way.
These activities can help tremendously with individuals with PTSD, anxiety, and stress issues, as they calm down
our amygdala. This is the part of the brain that controls our fight or flight response and keeps individuals in a
heightened state of worry, panic, and hypervigilance, when it is active. Coloring and focusing on this harmless
and calming activity can actually turn that response down, and let your brain have some much-needed rest and relaxation. This can be an exceptionally productive and welcome outlet for these individuals.
Coloring also brings us back to a simpler time. An activity that can invoke the easier and happier times of
childhood. A time when we did not have as many responsibilities, and could just do something because we
wanted too, for the pure joy of it. To be able to tap into this time and these emotions is very cathartic and
enjoyable. It can take you out of your present stresses and worries for even a few hours at a time, which can have an exceptionally recuperative effect.
Believe it or not, coloring has intellectual benefits as well. It utilizes areas of the brain that enhance focus and
concentration. It also helps with problem solving and organizational skills. This may sound strange, and like
perhaps the usefulness is being stretched, but it is all true. Our frontal lobes are responsible for these higher level activities and functions of the brain, and coloring detailed pictures activates all those properties. Think of
considering complex color schemes, and using the brain to balance and make the picture aesthetically pleasing.
Coloring utilizes both hemispheres of the brain, right and left. When we are thinking about balance, color choices,
applying colored pencil to paper, we are working on problem solving and fine motor skills. We have talked a great deal about where they would be suggested by psychologists, but this is where they can very useful for
occupational therapy as well. Imagine all the areas of retraining of the brain and skills training that can be
accomplished with coloring increasingly difficult designs. The individual can start on easier items, and work
their way up.
This is another method of practicing mindfulness, which has therapeutic and health benefits. This can help us
replace negative thoughts with positive and pleasant ones. Doing therapeutic artwork can help reduce feelings of anxiety and unpleasantness associated with lengthy medical treatments. The focus we place on the project at
hand, and on an object can replace negative and unhelpful thoughts from entering our minds. The step of acting and doing vs. observing is a powerful deterrent to focusing on physical or emotional pain.