If you think that coloring is just a childhood activity, after reading this article you will probably reconsider it. Take a look at any chart of bestselling books: you’ll find at least a few adult coloring books among the first spots. You might think that it’s just a temporary trend. However, the general interest in this activity has been actually sparked by a number of studies which have proved that coloring has real health benefits.
Keep reading to find out more about how this simple hobby might improve your mental state.
The act of coloring has a lot in common with practicing mindfulness. Because you need to focus on a repetitive movement, it keeps you in the present moment, shutting out distractions and any deviant thought you might have. It immerses you in a relaxing, almost trance-like state, just like meditation does. This way, coloring has the therapeutic potential to create focus, reduce anxiety and decrease stress.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association which examined the levels of anxiety of 84 students before and after coloring three types of canvases, the greatest reduction in anxiety appeared in the subjects that colored the more complex geometric motives. This may be motivated by the concept that if anxiety can be seen as a type of “inner chaos”, a structured activity like coloring a predetermined and complex design could help organizing that chaos.
One of the best elaborate patterns for your coloring is a mandala. The word in Sanskrit means “circle”, and it is a sacred symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism. It metaphorically depicts the universe, representing the human journey from a state of ignorance up until the achievement of Buddhahood. In Tibetan culture, these patterns are made by Buddhist monks with colored sand and the whole process of creating and then destroying the Sand Mandalas has deep philosophical meaning.
By coloring a mandala, you’ll experience a deep sense of calm and well-being while allowing yourself to express your creativity, which in our daily lives is often neglected. The tools that you need are mandala designs and some colors, preferably colored pencils in order to be more precise. The latter will allow you to achieve higher concentration, and therefore help you shut down your brain completely. Try not to overthink the choice of colors: let your instincts dictate the path that will suit you best. Find a comfortable and relaxing place, if possible, far from distractions.
An effective way to get yourself in the best mindset for coloring is by putting some soothing music in the background…
Are you willing to give coloring a try to find some relief from stress and anxiety? Let us know in the comments below!