“Look, Mom! I got a gold star for coloring inside the lines!”
Remember those days? When that mickey mouse, colored red and black was hung proudly on the fridge or that big green dinosaur with a purple tail?
Coloring has long been a favorite pastime of children all over the world. It’s fun, it’s creative, it takes a relaxing sort of concentration, and the results can be quite beautiful. So why did we stop? Why did so many of us put down the crayons after grade school, never to pick them up again? Is coloring just something for the kiddos?
No, and the research backs this up.
According to a study published in the Creativity Research Journal, filling in the lines of a coloring book is an easy, affordable, and effective self-help tool. In fact, coloring can even help manage mental health symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.
The researchers tested 115 women aged 18 to 36 years old, by dividing them into two groups. One group was given the task of coloring in a coloring book every day for a week. While the other was given other mind-stimulating puzzles such as Soduku.
Both groups reported feeling more mindful, but the group that spent a week coloring daily reported lower levels of depression and anxiety.
In a 2006 study, researchers found that using adult coloring books as a mindfulness art therapy, for women with cancer, helped to significantly decrease their symptoms of physical and emotional distress during their treatment. Further research has also found it to be helpful to people coping with other conditions, including depression, anxiety, addictions, and trauma.
Though more research is still being conducted on why exactly coloring can decrease mental health symptoms, one possible reason is that the practice of coloring in a design can create a meditative-like state that is beneficial in reducing anxiety. Just simply coloring inside the lines of geometric patterns, mandalas, and drawings, can be enough to soothe a stressed mind, and create feelings of ease and comfort.
The website verywellmind.com has put together a list of highly-rated adult coloring books that have been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms. Those can be found at the following website, and the items can be easily purchased on amazon. https://www.