Pick up Your Crayons: The Benefits of Coloring in Adulthood

The idea of “coloring” often brings us back to sweet moments in our childhood – sitting at our dining room tables with Crayola Jazzberry Jam crayons in hand, or spending entire afternoons shading our favorite Disney characters. Looking back on these moments with just our coloring books and crayons, we can recall feelings of true contentment.

These memories, however, do not have to be limited to our childhood. Coloring is a beneficial activity for adults as well. Here are some reasons why you should incorporate this activity back into your life:

Coloring can help us relax and ease stress.

Professionals, such as art therapist Lina Assad Cates, say that the repetitive strokes involved in coloring have a meditative benefit because you are doing the same motion over and over. The predictable rhythm eventually becomes a meditation.

Coloring allows us to focus on the task at hand so we are less likely to think about what is making us anxious.

When we color, we focus on the shades that we choose and the shapes that we are drawing. Dr. Joel Pearson, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales, says that when we focus on these details, we occupy the same part of the brain that stops anxiety related imagery. Moreover, by focusing on our drawing, coloring can shift the nature of our thoughts. Concentrating on coloring an image can replace negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones because we’re looking at generally happy designs.

Coloring fosters creativity in a low stakes and convenient way.

It’s important to get creative: adults who rank highly in having an overall “creative lifestyle” tend to be more conscientious and likely to seek out personal growth, according to a Yale research study. While many adults would like these creative benefits, it can be hard to make time to do so. 26 year old Elizabeth Himes told the Chicago Tribune that she doesn’t have time to do big craft projects, but uses coloring as a way to channel her creativity without doing too time intensive. Unlike other craft projects that are just a mess of beads, glue, paint, and complicated instructions, coloring is simple. You can be creative without having to think to hard about it. And this easy access to creativity is what has prompted many adults to color.

Coloring is a form of self-care.

Whenever we take time out of our busy schedules for ourselves, we are practicing self-care. Coloring is a simple way to tend to your needs and give yourself the love that you deserve.

If you’re interested in picking up coloring again, check out these adult coloring books below:

Adult Coloring Book for Relaxation, Amazon

The Harry Potter Coloring Book, Barnes and Noble

Stress Relieving Animal Designs, Amazon

Mandals, Target