Coloring is often viewed as a youngster’s activity–a mere pastime. Over the last few years, however, the impressive benefits of coloring for both adults and children have taken center stage, and many people are now realizing that this simple activity has profound advantages.
Interestingly, these benefits are not only relegated to one particular category, such as physical or mental health but have a positive impact in multiple ways. Below are twenty fascinating benefits of coloring.
1. Significant Stress Reduction
Stress is something that affects adults, teenagers, and children alike. Unfortunately, the world now contains more stress than ever, but the simple act of coloring can go a long way toward alleviating this destructive emotion.
The founder of Analytical Psychology, Carl Jung, often recommended coloring to adults and children under stress.
Renowned New York City psychologist, Ben Michaelis, states that this is because coloring generates a creative mindset while simultaneously activating the logical part of the brain. This combination leads to lower stress overall.
2. Engages the Entire Brain
While many activities only require a person to engage one hemisphere of his or her brain, coloring requires both.
This is because the human brain has a logical and creative side. With coloring, each side is involved.
For instance, choosing colors is obviously a creative thought process, while logic must come into play to keep the artist coloring in the lines.
The logical part of the brain also immediately springs to life when any pattern is put before the eyes, as the brain must try to make sense of the design.
3. Improves Focus
You may have already heard that coloring improves mental focus, but what exactly does that mean, and how is it accomplished?
This improvement in mental clarity stems from the fact that coloring activates the brain’s frontal lobe. This means that the person’s brain is engaging in problem-solving and organizational activities.
Therefore, even though coloring is a creative activity, it “exercises” the brain’s critical thinking areas, similar to the way puzzles or word games do.
Interestingly, though, coloring itself is relaxing, while difficult word games can engender mild stress.
4. Quells Anxiety
Anxiety is a common mental health issue, often with no clear-cut treatment. Fortunately, coloring is a simple, affordable hobby that can significantly decrease anxious feelings in adults and children.
According to a study published in Art Therapy magazine, coloring significantly reduced participants’ anxiety levels compared to their baseline anxiety before the trial.
Researchers believe this stems from the way coloring calms the amygdala–the “fear” center of the brain from which anxious and worried feelings originate.
5. An Easy Path to Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that focuses on being intensely aware of individual moments and what is felt or sensed during those moments without judgment or interpretation.
Practicing mindfulness involves breathing techniques and, in some cases, guided imagery.
In several studies, coloring was shown to increase mindfulness, particularly among young adults, and may even help cancer patients who practice this activity.
The key to this benefit, however, is to color on a regular basis, as the benefit is shorter-lived than some of the other benefits associated with coloring.
6. Improves Sleep Habits
Coloring has been shown to improve sleep quality and help you fall asleep faster.
This could be because it is a relaxing activity and it keeps you away from your cell phone and other blue light-emitting devices that cause insomnia.
7. Encourages Optimism and Displaces Negative Emotions
Because coloring is an activity that requires absolute focus, negative emotions often fade into the background when you engage in it.
The creative act of coloring often pushes resentments and fears away, allowing them to be replaced with happiness and even fond memories of coloring as a child.
Dr. Stan Rodski, a famous Neuropsychologist, claims that adult coloring leads to genuinely positive neurological effects on the brain.
He has noted positive changes in brain waves, heart rate, and other things when observing the results of coloring therapy in both children and adults.
8. Improves Motor Skills
It’s no secret that children develop motor skills almost from the time they are born, and when coloring, they must use the hand-eye coordination that is part of these skills.
Everything from the precise motions necessary to grip crayons or colored pencils to the child’s brain having to focus on coloring within the lines, this hobby is known to improve the youngster’s motor skills.
9. Boosts Color Recognition and Awareness
Coloring plays a significant role in helping children distinguish a broad range of colors, which is vital to their cognitive development.
By identifying, selecting, and naming colors, children build stronger foundations for understanding complicated color concepts, such as color relationships, shading, and color mixing.
By practicing on a regular basis through the use of coloring pages, children learn to associate particular colors with emotions, various objects, and even cultural significance.
10. Effective Therapy for Age-Related Illnesses
Not only is coloring beneficial for children and young adults, but it can also be particularly helpful for senior citizens as well.
This is especially true for those dealing with age-related cognitive decline and even conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, boredom is detrimental for seniors, and coloring is not only a fun pastime, it also enhances eye-hand coordination and motor skills that may decline if the person were otherwise inactive.
11. Helps With Behavioral Problems
Children with behavioral problems may benefit greatly from coloring on a regular basis.
The concept of art therapy for such children has been around for a long time, but the idea that simply coloring in pages can be effective is a relatively new theory.
For some children, taking art therapy classes during which they must stare at a blank page on which they must create something completely new can sometimes provoke anxiety and ultimately be counterproductive.
On the other hand, when a child can choose a coloring page featuring something he or she finds appealing, it instantly increases the chance of a successful art therapy session.
12. Relaxes the Entire Brain
Coloring has been proven to relax the human brain, and there are several reasons for this.
First, it is a no-pressure activity. The worst that could happen is you color outside the lines, and this is more of something to laugh at than to get upset over.
Secondly, the methodical back-and-forth motion that occurs when using crayons leads to normalizing breathing and pulse rate.
Finally, it is an activity over which you have complete control, unlike playing a sport or trying to complete a puzzle that you may or may not be able to solve.
This makes coloring a highly relaxing activity for adults and children alike.
13. Boosts Blood Flow to the Brain
Increased blood flow to the brain is a proven benefit of coloring. In a randomized study conducted on 50 adults, coloring made it into the top three activities to boost blood flow to the brain.
This, in turn, means that the brain receives more oxygen as well since oxygen is carried by red blood cells.
There was discussion about a future study that may involve adults and children completing a coloring page before a test to see if this increase in blood flow to the brain may ultimately result in better scores!
14. Helps With Pain From Chronic Illness
Art therapy has long been in the spotlight with regard to helping individuals manage pain and other symptoms of chronic illness.
However, few people realize that simple coloring is also in this category. In other words, it’s unnecessary to take a complicated art class and try to become the next Picasso to reap the benefits of this activity.
In a 2018 study completed by Harvard Health, the pain levels of 200 chronically ill participants were significantly lowered when they participated in art therapy for an average of 50 minutes, and this was also the case when the therapy involved simple coloring.
15. Reduces Decision Fatigue
A 21st-century phenomenon referred to as “Decision Fatigue” is a topic of recent discussion among psychologists and other mental health professionals.
It likely stems from the overload of information to which most individuals are subjected on a daily basis.
The impact of this leads to an odd reverse effect, which causes a person to become overwhelmed with simple tasks.
For example, selecting a product in a store may suddenly feel like a difficult chore due to there being so many options from which to choose.
Coloring pages offset this annoying psychological symptom because it essentially eliminates the fear of making a “bad choice.”
16. Improves Work Performance by Boosting Creativity
A study published in Frontiers of Neural Circuits indicated that virtually everyone could benefit from boosting their mental creativity, regardless of their profession.
Those with creative minds tend to have the highest levels of success at work, no matter how far along they are on their career path.
Since coloring boosts inventiveness and ingenuity, it’s the perfect activity for those who want to enhance the creative side of their brain.
It is highly likely that this also applies to children regarding their performance in school or extracurricular activities.
17. Counteracts Technology Overload
There is a virtually limitless number of scientific studies about why walking away from electronic devices for at least an hour a day is vital.
Not all people achieve this, but it can be easier to put that cell phone or laptop aside for a while when a relaxing and enjoyable hobby is found.
Coloring requires nothing other than the pages themselves and the child or adult’s choice between colored pencils or traditional crayons.
The pure simplicity of it makes it a perfect alternative to technology that can be both mentally and emotionally fatiguing to people of all ages.
18. Replaces Negative Thoughts Through Memory Association
Because coloring has the unique distinction of being an activity that virtually everyone participated in as a child, it offers a very special benefit.
According to Doctor Joel Pearson, a neurological scientist from Australia’s University of New South Wales, coloring reminds us of how simple life was when we were youngsters.
When engaging in this activity, negative images and thoughts are replaced with pleasant ones on a subconscious level, leading to higher levels of happiness at that moment.
19. Improves Handwriting in Children
Coloring can help children with hand-eye coordination, but it will also prepare them to eventually learn writing skills.
When children color, they have to control a variety of things, such as the direction in which the crayon is steered, the amount of pressure placed on it, and its speed.
All of these exercises help youngsters get ready to write. The ability to control a crayon and make it do what they want corresponds directly with being able to write with a pencil or pen.
20. Unique Social Bonding
Although always popular with children, coloring has gained significant popularity among adults, leading to another unique benefit.
Almost all parents want more quality time with their youngsters and express concerns about their children spending too much time in cyberspace.
Since coloring is now something that both children and adults embrace, what better parent-child activity could there be?
Children love when adults participate in the activities they themselves like, and virtually any child would love to have one or both parents sit down and color with them once a week.
It’s an ideal way to enjoy the important parent-child bonding that all child psychologists recommend.