Coloring with Your Kids: The Benefits of Coloring for Adults
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Grownups used to only pick up pencil crayons when coloring with kids, but the popularity of adult coloring books changed that. Coloring is now seen as a relaxing alternative to meditation for adults whether they’re parents or not.
The benefits grownups receive from adult coloring books like Color in the Garden with Me are much the same as those we see in children who color: increased focus, less stress, and relaxed feelings of contentment. And adult coloring books aren’t new—Carl Jung was recommending coloring to his patients decades ago.
Is Coloring Art Therapy?
The short answer to this question is no it isn’t. Art therapy is a mental health discipline where patients create art to explore emotional issues, manage behavioral problems and addiction, reduce anxiety and panic, or increase self-esteem.
Integral to art therapy is the relationship between the therapist and his or her client, a relationship you can’t develop when coloring by yourself. This doesn’t, however, mean coloring doesn’t offer some wonderful benefits. Grownups who color report reduced anxiety, increased mindfulness, and a sense of returning to a simpler time.
Coloring and Stress
If you’ve ever been coloring with kids, you might notice you feel calmer and more relaxed afterwards. There’s a scientific reason for that. Coloring calms the amygdala, the portion of the brain that triggers the fight or flight response. Heightened amygdala activity is associated with hypervigilance, worry, and panic.
Coloring seems to calm the amygdala so well therapists sometimes use adult coloring books in the treatment of PTSD, panic attacks, and anxiety disorders.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Coloring has a similar effect on the brain as meditation. Both promote increased focus and concentration by turning the brain’s attention to simple, repetitive activities. Researchers see brain wave changes when adults color, possibly due to the repetition and pattern recognition. In addition to increased mindfulness, coloring stimulates parts of the brain associated with problem-solving and organizational skills.
Have you ever watched your child and wished you could return to her simpler, more accepting state of mind? Coloring offers a chance to do just that. Perhaps it’s the effect adult coloring books have on our jangled nerves, or perhaps coloring as an adult reminds us of happy memories of coloring as kids, but many adults feel a connection to their younger selves when they color.
Coloring with Kids and Family Bonding
Coloring with kids is a great way to build a family bond doing something everyone can enjoy, whether you’re working on a personalized Color Christmas with Me book together or sitting side-by-side, each coloring your own page. It’s a quiet, relaxed activity in a world that’s all too often filled with frenzied energy. So sharpen some pencil crayons, grab some coloring books, and make coloring with kids a part of your family routine!