Coloring is something we all did as kids. In recent years, adult coloring books have grown in popularity, and for good reason. Coloring has shown to yield major mental health benefits.
Meditation and Stress Reduction
“The most amazing things occurred,” said Dr. Stan Rodski, a neuropsychologist from Australia who specializes in brain performance. A study he conducted where participants were placed on monitors found evidence of the brain entering a meditative state while coloring. He started seeing changes in heart rate and brainwaves. “Like meditation, coloring allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus on the moment. Tasks with predictable results, such as coloring or knitting can often be calming,” said Dr. Rodski.
“There are three key elements – repetition, pattern and detail – that prompt positive responses in participants. When you can predict that things will happen in a certain way, it’s calming for us,” Dr. Rodski added.
Gloria Martinez Ayala, a psychologist and researcher at John Hopkins University told the Huffington Post about her findings in a similar study. “The relaxation that [coloring] provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, the part of our brain that controls emotion and stress,” said Ayala. When our “fear” center is turned off, we can relax in the moment.
Improve Motor Skills
Ayala’s findings also showed improved motor skills, stating “when we color, different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres are activated: logic and creativity. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills.” Logic helps us color inside the lines and creativity is stimulated when we decide which colors to use.