Who loved to color as a kid? Coloring was one of my most favorite activities. Getting a brand new coloring book and choosing the perfect color from my box of crayons brought so much joy! And when I finally got the big box of Crayola 64 Colors with built-in crayon sharpener, I was in heaven. It’s no wonder I grew up to be a graphic designer.
Turns out that besides being fun, coloring has some great health benefits too. In fact coloring is making a big come-back for adults these days. Coloring books for adults are so popular on Amazon that many of them sell out or are back-ordered. Who ever imagined you could color for your health?
Health Benefits of Coloring for Adults
Parade Magazine (July 12, 2015) recently did a cover story on the benefits of coloring for adults. Noting that, “While other hobbies may relax you, coloring offers complete absorption.” This is because “It engages both sides of your brain in that it’s both creative and tactical,” says executive director and psychologist Alice Domar, Ph.D., of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Boston.
The creativity—right-brain thinking—stems from choosing colors and how they will work together, while the tactical comes into play when you decide how to color, for example, coloring inside lines or not, and choosing colors that are realistic to the image or not, which are more left-brain ways of thinking.
Because both halves of the brain are absorbed at the same time when you are coloring, coloring can provide similar effects to that of meditation. It can also evoke feelings of happy times from your childhood, which can increase serotonin levels, and make you feel good.
How Colors Affect Your Mood
And then there are the colors you choose. You’ve no doubt noticed my love of color throughout this website. Did you know that colors can actually affect your mood? Here’s how:
Cool colors — blues, greens, purples are calming colors and can help you relax
Warm colors — reds, oranges, yellows are uplifting colors and can help to boost your mood
Bright colors — are energizing colors and can help pick you up
Dark colors — are relaxing colors and can calm an active mind
Pastels — soft, light colors are good for soothing the soul
Coloring Books for Adults
If I’ve had a stressful day or week, I’ll often come home, grab my coloring book and colored pencils, and sit down to color. It’s amazing how quickly I can get lost in my coloring book.
If you’d like to start coloring to help you relax and to improve your health, there are a many coloring books for adults to choose from. Some of the most popular adult coloring books include:
- Magic Garden: Fantastic Flowers Coloring Book for Adults
- Mandala Magic: Amazing Mandalas Coloring Book for Adults
- Animal Kingdom: Color Me, Draw Me
- Posh Adult Coloring Book: Soothing Designs for Fun and Relaxation
- Color Me Happy: 100 Coloring Templates That Will Make You Smile
- Color Me Stress-Free: 100 Coloring Templates to Unplug and Unwind (A Zen Coloring Book)
- Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation
While my Crayola’s were a great medium when I was a kid, today I prefer to color with colored pencil or markers. I love my Koh-I-Noor Progresso Woodless Colored Pencils, with their vibrant palette that you can overlay to mix colors like paints. I also like my Pentel Markers for more saturated color.
So next time you’re feeling stressed out, or a little down in the dumps, grab your coloring book and some pencils, markers, or crayons, and bliss-out in a meditative state as you color away. Your mind and body will thank you, and you may just have a lot of fun too!
Parade Magazine offers some free downloadable coloring pages to help you get started.
Please leave a comment to let us know which coloring books and mediums you like best.