Nothing beats the smell of opening a brand new box of crayons! There is not a lot of opportunity to open a fresh box of crayons in high school. Coloring work sheets was one of my favorite things to do in grade school.
I’ve always enjoyed coloring. Every time I visit my grandparents, I color in one of their many coloring books. They have a big basket of all kinds of coloring books (mostly princess and Barbie) with boxes of crayons, markers, and colored pencils. Yes, I am the oldest grandchild. Yes, I still do this today. I love sitting at the folding table my grandpa sets up in the TV room and coloring with my younger cousins.
I enjoy this so much that my favorite present I received this Christmas was a coloring book, colored pencils, and my penguin pencil sharpener. Lately, I’ve been wondering how coloring affects us and maybe even help us mentally.
A CNN article touched on the latest craze of adult coloring books. Research shows that coloring helps the brain wind down and focus, giving it therapeutic qualities. The article states that many researchers and even yoga editors suggest that coloring can be classified as a sort of meditation.
Marygrace Berberian, an art therapist, states in the CNN article that “coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring [about] more mindfulness.” In 2005, research was done showing that the subjects who colored had anxiety levels drop while those subjects that just doodled, didn’t display a reduction in anxiety levels.
A Fox News article wrote, “ The health benefits go beyond relaxation, and include exercising fine motor skills and training the brain to focus.”
Doctors like Psychiatrist Carl Jung have known about coloring benefits since the early 1900’s, and have been prescribing coloring to their patients. Psychologist Dr. Ben Michaelis says, “Because it’s a centering activity, the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that is involved with our fear response, actually gets a bit, a little bit of a rest, and it ultimately has a really calming effect over time.”
It helps stressed out adults not just by feeling calm as a sort of meditation, but it also makes them feel like a kid again. They get to relive the feeling of a carefree life- well, maybe for a little while.
Coloring can also help a person fall asleep. Many people, including myself, look at Facebook, check out Instagram, or watch YouTube video’s before we go to bed. This can reduce our level of melatonin- a sleep hormone- which disrupts sleep patterns. Coloring every night before bed is an electronic-free way of unwinding and won’t disturb melatonin levels, making it easier to fall asleep.
I have noticed that coloring at least once a week has helped me be calmer about situations. The weekend before a big test, I found some time to sit and color and felt less stressed and more focused.
If you’re looking for a way to help lower your stress or anxiety level or fall asleep, you might want to try coloring. Sure it’s a little kid activity, but it might surprise you. You might just enjoy it so much you’ll color on a weekly basis.