Coloring books for adults have become the latest trend since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, where most people spend more time at home. For those of you who have never tried, there's nothing wrong with filling your spare time while #stayathome by coloring.
According to clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis, coloring is a stress-free activity that relaxes the amygdala — the fear center of the brain — and allows your mind to get the rest it needs. But coloring has other indirect health benefits, as well. At the end of the day, coloring is good for you because it's fundamentally fun.
Here are five reasons why you should reopen your colored pencils and start coloring.
1. Coloring Reduces Stress And Anxiety
Coloring allows the fear center of your brain to relax, thereby relaxing you — and not just while you are coloring. Giving your amygdala periodic rests actually reduces your stress overall. Coloring is a meditative, free-time activity you can schedule, making it perfect for retraining your amygdala to respond less harshly to stress.
2. Coloring Trains Your Brain To Focus
Staying inside the lines takes focus, but not so much that it's stressful. Clinical counselor Leslie Marshall notes that the activity "opens up the frontal lobe of the brain — the home of organizing and problem solving — and focuses the mind" by allowing colorers to forget their worries.
3. Coloring Helps Your Fine Motor Skills And Vision
Coloring requires the two hemispheres of your brain to communicate, and the activity itself improves your fine motor skills and vision. The "action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors," psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala says. In turn, this "incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills." Coloring books, much like crossword puzzles, are therapeutic and may delay or prevent the onset of dementia in older individuals.
4. Lets You be You
Your coloring book is yours. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of it. You don't have to show it to anyone else if you don't want to. No one has to know that you accidentally colored that cat's leg green because you thought it was part of the grass. If you want to see a blue duck, well, that's OK, too. This is your time, so color however you want.
5. Coloring is Free Decoration
Sometimes, even spray paint is too much trouble. Once you've filled up your coloring book, though, you can use it for all sorts of easy crafts, from wall decor to decoupage.