Coloring for adults, you hear a lot about it the last years!
Didn’t we all used to make coloring pictures? As a child, who couldn’t color in a new coloring book for hours on end? You were completely absorbed in the activity of coloring, while sticking the tip of your tongue out 😉
If only you could find the time for so much creativity, with the busy life you lead. How relaxing that would be…
But wait! Once again, you can relax by coloring in a beautiful adult coloring picture after a long working day. Even for adults it can be nice to focus completely on coloring and leave other things for what they are.
Positive Effects Of Coloring
Then what is it that makes coloring so much fun? Coloring has a lot of positive effects.
Below are six advantages of Art therapy, in a nutshell, as coloring is an excellent part of it:
1. SELF-CARE: You take a moment for yourself. Call it a little date with yourself!
2. CREATE SOMETHING NEW: Your creativity will be tapped and you will discover new sides of yourself.
3. CALM YOUR MONKEY MIND: It gives peace of mind; your most important choice at that moment is which color you choose. It helps you to concentrate on just one thing. Throw multitasking overboard, because research shows that multitasking does not benefit the execution of different tasks.
4. DESTRESS: It works stress relieving. Even if you feel less comfortable for a period or experience a lot of stress, coloring is a nice way to clear your head and stop grinding for a while.
5. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS: It increases your awareness. By putting your focus on a coloring picture, you’re automatically shutting out the outside world for a while. It’s a quiet activity that takes little effort and doesn’t suck energy like watching TV for example does. By the motor movement of your hand and focusing on what the drawing will look like, you come into a kind of flow and get relaxed. Therefore, it can be a good form of mindfulness or meditation.
6. EMPOWER YOURSELF: It increases your self-confidence because you get to choose the colors and what you want the drawing to look like.
Is There Scientific Proof?
Not much scientific research has been done on the influence of coloring on adults. This also makes it difficult to say whether all the claims are correct.
Simon Ball¹ investigated whether coloring had a positive effect on the well-being of the participants, compared to drawing. It turned out that there was no significant difference between coloring, drawing something yourself and then coloring it in, or just drawing. The participants of all three groups were more relaxed after the session, but there was no significant difference between the groups. What you can conclude from this is that it doesn’t matter whether you color or draw (on a blank piece of paper you make something up and draw it yourself). However, adults who often color or draw do come to rest.
Jennifer Drake² examined the benefits of drawing over time. In her research 40 students were questioned. They were asked to think of the saddest event that ever happened to them. Then they were allowed to draw for fifteen minutes.
The group of students was divided into two groups. The first group was asked to draw something separate from the event, which distracted people from the dissatisfied thoughts and feelings. The second group was asked to draw something related to the event. These people had to express their feelings through the drawing. This procedure was repeated for four days. At various points in the process the participants had to fill in a questionnaire to measure their negative emotions. As it turned out, the first group of students became more cheerful by drawing than the second group. Drawing as a distraction has an effect already after fifteen minutes. Drawing is an easy, powerful way for people to get in a better mood, at least in the short term,’ says Drake. We’re now investigating whether the benefits also apply over a longer period, for example a month.
If you want to find out more about what coloring can do for one’s mental health, I highly recommend Lucy’s blog ‘Coloring in the midst of madness‘. Lucy has a severe anxiety disorder and adult coloring plays an important role in her life. She also has lots of reviews about books and coloring materials.
Different types of Coloring Books
The hype started with mandalas and it is striking that many books still have many images related to Eastern religions, symbols and spirituality. Such as the hand of Fatima, lotus flowers, paisley prints, fantasy animals and Buddhas. Coincidence? Mandala’s drawing helps people get out of their heads, because it shifts their attention and helps them relax.
But also the round shapes, the repetition of patterns, the graceful details and organic images of animals and nature, which you regularly encounter in books like these, have a calming effect.
Maybe you prefer to draw something more realistic, like birds, famous people or cities?
What’s also fun to do is color by number. It’s nice when you don’t have to think about the colors yourself and a beautiful drawing comes out anyway!
In that case you can for example choose one of the coloring books below:
– Animals: Richard Merritt
– Color by Number: Joanna Webster
– Portraits: Rachel Mintz
Click here for a website with more than 1500 coloring pages!
Currently, there are also a few colour apps, so you can colour the prettiest coloring pictures even with your smartphone. The big advantage is that this is much cheaper: you don’t have to by coloring books and materials, and you can get started right away.
Let me tip you off a few:
– Color Therapy: It has amazing features, enables you to work with detail. Free download for Apple, currently not available for Android.
Although these apps are nice and practical, I have to confess I prefer the real thing. Nothing beats the sound of pencils/pens on paper!
Have fun coloring and let me know if you liked my tips!
¹ Ball, Simon (2016). The Effects of Coloring Books on Adults’ Well-Being.
² Drake, J. E., Hastedt, I., & James, C. (2016). Drawing to distract: Examining the psychological benefits of drawing over time. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 10(3), 325–331.