Do you ever have those moments in which you are fully aware of a laundry list of things you need to do and yet find yourself paralyzed and unable to get anything accomplished? Do you find it difficult to focus on a task due to other stressors lying beneath the surface eating away at your emotional and mental energy? If these scenarios resonate with you, it may be time to invest in a coloring book and some crayons.
Adult coloring books are becoming increasingly popular these days and can be found in most bookstores and online booksellers.
Why are they so popular? There are likely a plethora of reasons, but one potentially important reason could be the positive impact coloring can have on one's mental health. According to art therapist and NYU professor, Marygrace Berberian, "Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring [about] more mindfulness." (CNN) In other words, coloring can literally calm you down and help you focus. It allows you to focus your energy on one thing and turn off all the noise caused by those other stressors. The idea is that you would then be able to better focus on other tasks you must attend to, as your brain learns to focus and set aside distractions.
Another possible element of this coloring dynamic may be as simple as the fact that it provides a creative outlet. Human beings, by nature, are creative. However, when you are stressed out or paralyzed by an overwhelming to do list, it can be difficult to find the time and/or energy to create. Coloring can offer an unintimidating, simple, and easy way to create. The hard work of design is done. All you need to do is sit down, pick a color, and try to stay between the lines (if that's your thing).
Both the increased ability to focus and the creative outlet it represents are compelling reasons why coloring is a great pastime for adults as well as children. So don't let the trendiness of adult coloring books throw you off. They are fun and can have a positive effect on your well-being. And, when you're done, you can hang pretty pictures on your fridge! For more information on this and related topics, visit the Behavioral and Mental Health sections of our blog.
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