You may fondly remember coloring books from your childhood, or perhaps you have children or grandchildren who enjoy coloring. But this activity doesn’t have to be locked away by nostalgia — more and more adults are re-discovering coloring as a form of active meditation.
Adult coloring books, which usually feature much more detailed or abstract designs than children’s coloring books, have exploded in popularity over the last year.
Here are 5 reasons that more and more people are sharpening their colored pencils!
1Adult coloring can be a form of active meditation
Active meditation, according to communication expert Mark Waldman, focuses attention on simple, repetitive tasks. This type of meditation can be easier for many people to grasp than traditional concentrative meditation.
Besides adult coloring, other forms of active meditation can include walking, yoga and Tai chi. Concentrating on filling the page with colors you choose gently steers your mind to the present and blocks out intrusive thoughts, which is the goal of any form of meditation.
2Adult coloring has been used in therapy for decades
Long before the boom in popularity, coloring has been used in therapy. As a matter of fact, famous psychologist Carl Jung is credited with bringing the practice to the West in the early 1900s, and it has been used in therapy ever since. “I use them and I suggest them to my clients,” says psychotherapist Kelley Kitley. “It's a way to practice being present and mindful and awaken the senses.”
Adult coloring has been used as a therapy technique for those suffering from depression, trauma, PTSD and more. It’s no wonder that the hobby has become widespread.
3Adult coloring is a way to practice mindfulness
According to Psychology Today, mindfulness is “a state of active, open attention on the present.” It involves being conscious of emotions and thoughts without judging them as good or bad. With the hustle of a modern life, we can all use some practice in mindfulness! After all, research has shown that mindfulness benefits health via stress reduction. Not to mention you’ll likely be happier, more focused and more relaxed when mindful meditation becomes a habit.
4Adult coloring may help lower your blood pressure
Since adult coloring can double as meditation, lower blood pressure may be another benefit of the hobby.
A three-month study asked patients who were all being treated for blood pressure medication to try training in “relaxation response”—basically, meditation. At the end of the study, 40 of the 60 patients had lower blood pressure and were able to drop some of their medications.
5Adult coloring gives us a way to disconnect from technology
One of the biggest surprises of adult coloring’s spread in popularity is that it requires you to disconnect from technology. “Coloring allows us to create something beautiful, even if that particular day in our life may not be one of our best,” notes Randi Levin, certified transitional life coach, writer, and inspirational speaker. “When we turn off the tech, we turn on our minds and our hearts. We become lost in our thoughts and present in our intentions.”
In order to color, you have to put pencil, marker or crayon to paper—no app required. That’s impressive, considering so many new trends are technology-driven. And since disconnecting for a while can have a positive impact on our mental health, this is yet another benefit of adult coloring.
Are you itching to start coloring yet?
One caveat is that adult coloring has to be practiced consistently in order to achieve these benefits. A single coloring session isn’t going to miraculously melt away stress, lower blood pressure and make you a meditation guru.
But if you’ve bought a coloring book, why stop with one finished page?
Is adult coloring one of your relaxing hobbies?
If so, tell us what you think! How does it help you?