What’s All the Buzz About Adult Coloring Books?

Have you ever looked at a child when they are coloring and noticed how relaxed they look? I recently purchased an adult coloring book in the hopes that I could use coloring as a relaxation tool. There has been a lot of discussion about the use of adult coloring books as meditation tools — some studies indicate being artistic can even improve mental health. Traditional meditation, with a focus on stillness and breathing, may not be for everyone but coloring, combining focus and physical activity, just might be.

Woman coloring

Kimberly Wulfert, a psychologist with EverydayHealth.com, explained coloring as an alternative to mediation this way, "In coloring, you've got this physical sensation of the tool you're using touching on the paper. You also have the feeling in your hands and fingers holding this tool and moving in different rhythms as you fill in the space. So, you're being mindful and when you move in a rhythmic fashion for an extended period of time that becomes a meditation."

The act of coloring lights up different areas of your brain, requiring you to use the motor skills of your hands, your senses of sight and touch and your creativity as you select colors. Furthermore, the act of coloring focuses the mind on one simple activity, which leads to relaxation and reduced stress. 

Coloring is a wonderful channel for creativity and self-expression. Not everyone’s daily routine provides a creative outlet and coloring is the perfect way to let your imagination run wild. It allows you to unlock your imagination and access a more creative, freer state. 

Maybe start in a quiet environment while listening to some relaxing music. For me, after a day of writing, reading and thinking, a freer state of mind is essential to achieve relaxation. Coloring is a great alternative since I have not been able to achieve a state of meditation where I am free from thinking. I close my eyes and try; however, somehow my brain won’t shut down. I was greatly surprised to see how coloring cleared my mind! 

If you are having a rough day at work or just a bad day in general, feel free to take out some crayons or colored pencils and start coloring. I bought my coloring book at craft store, but there are many free printable online options as well.

Jacqueline Hidalgo