If you believe that coloring books and apps are for little children who need the activity to help learn hand-eye coordination, then, clearly, you haven’t been paying attention to a recent worldwide trend — coloring for grown-ups. It’s an activity that has gathered a fan following ever since 2014. If you have no idea why anyone over 6 would want to spend their time coloring, here’s an introduction to what it’s about.
It’s about stress relief
According to research done at Mayo Clinic, the primary benefit of coloring activities designed for adults comes in the form of stress relief. It’s an activity that the mind easily sees as artistic, and therefore engages in without boredom. As with any artistic activity, coloring helps quiet the mind’s internal chatter and offers meditative benefits usually seen in mindfulness training, a recent trend that has enjoyed wide public acceptance.
Whatever goes on in your life each day that fills you with worry or stress, taking the trouble to neatly color into a complicated floral pattern can take your mind back to simpler times, help you focus the activity on hand, clear your mind or simply make you feel better about life. Over time, do reap the benefits of lowered stress — less fatigue, better sleep and an overall feeling of well-being.
Coloring can help in the fight against negative thought
From self-doubt to guilt, and from petty obsessiveness to anger, cycles of negative emotion aren’t easy to break when you don’t have pleasant work that truly engages your mind. Coloring activities help in this way. Psychologists have noticed measurable and quantifiable differences, as well, in brain activity and heart rate.
Coloring can even help those who wish to take their mind off a specific negative emotion that plagues them. A study conducted at Thomas Jefferson University has found that such art therapy has direct medical benefits to cancer patients who wish to distract themselves from the fear and anxiety that they feel.
You can get involved in a coloring niche that speaks to you
From coloring books that just involve coloring into swearwords in big letters, to ones that you color into when you watch Netflix, there are subcultures that many people truly connect to. Depending on the type of relaxation you seek, there’s a type of coloring activity just for you that is effective at stress release because it engages you. When you don’t want to pay for therapy, coloring can actually work as self-therapy. It’s endorsed by the American Art Therapy Association.
There are apps for it, as well
Coloring for adults may have started out as an individual activity, but it’s progressed into a group activity. Many libraries and other organizations run coloring book clubs where people come together to make friends and spend time.
As with any popular activity, coloring for adults has naturally progressed to digital platforms such as computers and smartphones. Coloring Book for Me & Mandala (try this app), one of the classics in this genre, offers different levels of coloring difficulty, depending on what you’re in the mood for. There are hundreds of imaginative patterns, shapes, forms and even painting masterpieces to color into. Best of all, it’s free.
Certainly, not everyone is likely to be interested in coloring activities. It has caught on among millions, however. Coloring for grown-ups is so popular, it has actually lifted up the sagging publishing and art materials industries with a major boost. If you aren’t sure you’ll like coloring, trying it out could prove to be an adventure.