Colouring is not just a fun activity for kids. Adult colouring has good for your mental health. Let us tell you the benefits of adult colouring.

Children are generally happy if you give them colouring books. They show their creative side on paper while also learning to colour between the lines. But why should only the little ones have all the fun? Even adults can use colouring books! Adult colouring books mostly focus on mental health and wellness. You will notice that the patterns in such books are often made to reduce stress and relax your mind. Read on to know about the mental health benefits of adult colouring.

What is adult colouring?

Adult colouring is the activity of colouring intricate designs or patterns in colouring books designed specifically for adults. Unlike children’s colouring books, the ones meant for adults have complex designs, typically inspired by nature, mandalas, or abstract art. This activity is seen as a form of relaxation and stress relief for adults, because it allows people to focus their attention on the present moment and engage in a creative and meditative process. Adult colouring is often very therapeutic, promotes mindfulness and reduces anxiety by providing a calming and enjoyable opportunity for self-expression and creativity, says clinical psychologist Ankur Singh Kapur.

A woman engaged in adult colouring
Adult colouring may help to reduce stress. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the mental health benefits of adult colouring?

Adult colouring may help to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to a 2017 study published in the Creativity Research Journal. Everyone knows art therapy is beneficial for peace of mind. Now, know more benefits of adult colouring:

1. Stress reduction

Colouring help to promote relaxation by diverting attention away from stressful thoughts and into the calming act of colouring. This can help in reducing cortisol levels and alleviate stress, says the expert.

2. Mindfulness

Engaging in the intricate details of colouring promotes mindfulness. This is because people focus on the present moment, resulting in increased self-awareness and decreased rumination that involves repetitive thinking or dwelling on negative feelings.

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3. Improved concentration

Colouring intricate designs needs concentration. This helps to improve focus and attention span, which can be beneficial for people with attention disorders, says Kapur.

4. Mood enhancement

Colouring has a creative and enjoyable nature. This stimulates the release of endorphins, which in turn enhances mood and promotes feelings of happiness and well-being.

5. Self-expression

Colouring provides a non-verbal means of self-expression. This enables people to express their emotions, thoughts, and feelings through their choice of colours and artistic expression.

6. Relaxation response

Colouring activates the parasympathetic nervous system, says the expert. This triggers the body’s relaxation response, which can lead to decreased heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.

7. Distraction from negative thoughts

Engaging in colouring provides a good distraction from negative thoughts and worries. This offers a temporary escape or a break from the daily stressors, promoting mental resilience.

8. Creative outlet

Colouring encourages creativity and imagination in people irrespective of the age. It provides a secure space for people to explore artistic expression and unleash their inner creativity without judgment.

9. Increased problem-solving skills

Colouring complex patterns can enhance a person’s cognitive skills like spatial awareness, pattern recognition, and problem-solving. This stimulates mental agility and flexibility, says the expert.

10. Emotional healing

Colouring has a therapeutic nature. It can help with emotional healing by allowing people to process and cope with difficult emotions in a non-verbal and symbolic manner.

A woman engaged in adult colouring
Adult colouring is not a replacement for therapy. Image courtesy: Freepik

11. Sense of accomplishment

It is not only at work where you can get a sense of accomplishment. Completing a colouring page also provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. It can boost self-esteem and confidence, especially in people who are struggling with perfectionism or low self-worth.

How to get started?

Follow these steps to get started with adult colouring:

  • Gather colouring supplies such as coloured pencils, markers, gel pens, paint, brush or whichever supplies you require.
  • Find an adult colouring book with designs that appeal to you. They can be mandalas, nature scenes, or abstract patterns.
  • Create a relaxing environment with soft lighting and soothing music to enhance your colouring experience.
  • Select a page and begin colouring, but focus on one section at a time. Try different colours and techniques to bring the design to life.
  • Relax, unwind, and enjoy the benefits of adult colouring as you immerse yourself in the creative process.

Can adult colouring replace therapy?

Adult colouring can complement therapy as a self-care activity and serve as a tool for stress relief and relaxation, says the expert. However, it cannot be a replacement for professional therapy while dealing with serious mental health issues, including depression. Adult colouring can provide temporary relief from symptoms like stress and anxiety, but it does not address underlying psychological issues or provide the comprehensive support and guidance that therapy offers. It is important to seek the guidance of a therapist or counsellor for personalised treatment.

Adult colouring is not just for fun, but it can be a valuable addition to a holistic approach for self-care and mental well-being.

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