Mental health benefits of coloring

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What was once known as a simple and fun activity for children is now a tool for practicing good mental health. Coloring has recently gained popularity, especially for adults.

While children’s coloring books feature cartoon characters and simple designs, adult coloring books have intricate patterns of flowers, illustrations, mandalas or animals. Books are available for purchase and you can print free coloring pages online. For people who prefer a digital version, there are plenty of coloring apps available for mobile devices.

But what makes adult coloring so popular?

Coloring can improve your health by:

Promote mindfulness

Coloring can help you be more attentive. mindfulness is the ability to focus and stay in the moment.

For example, because you focus on choosing colors and staying within the lines, you only think about the present moment. You can cut out the noise around you and give your mind the knack of focusing on the movements, sensations, and emotions of your present moment.

Train yourself to be non-judgmental as you complete the task without expectations – just in the moment. If your mind wanders, which is normal, gently return to what you are experiencing right now. During coloring, you use the parts of your brain that improve focus and concentration. It gives you the opportunity to disconnect from stressful thoughts.

Relieve stress

Coloring is a healthy way to relieve stress. It calms the brain and helps your body relax. It can improve sleep and fatigue while decreasing body aches, heart rate, breathing, and feelings of depression and anxiety.

While coloring isn’t the ultimate cure for stress and anxiety, sitting down for a long coloring session has great value. As you color, pay attention to your breathing rate, make sure your diaphragm is breathing evenly and fully, and tune in to your heart rate periodically if you can.

embrace the imperfect

There is no right or wrong way to color. Coloring is a non-competitive activity, so there is no pressure to “level up”, win a prize or beat the clock. You can color for as long or as short as you want. You don’t need to complete an image in one sitting.

Try to let go of judgments or expectations and enjoy the simple beauty of coloring. It doesn’t matter if your image is neat or messy. The only thing that matters is if you found coloring fun and relaxation.

Other Ways to Relieve Stress

Some people don’t find coloring to be relaxing or enjoyable, especially those who didn’t like coloring as children. Its good.

Here are some other fun ways to relieve stress:

  • Spend time with a four-legged friend.
    It’s no secret that pets make us happy. Their love is unconditional, they are always happy to see us and they are adorable. Spend quality time with a pet or volunteer at an animal shelter if you don’t have one.
  • Open a book.
    Reading is a great way to relax. Like coloring, it helps you lose yourself in the moment and forget about your work or other stressors.
  • Massage your earlobes.
    Massaging the pressure points in your earlobes brings a soothing and relaxing feeling to your body. Do this for a few minutes and you might start to feel some relief.
  • Stop a movement.
    Pulling out your best dance moves along with your favorite song can be therapeutic for many people. If you’re dancing for most of the song, you can also say you’ve had some exercise.
  • Breathe deeply.
    Deep breathing is a great way to reduce your body’s response to perceived threats. Inhale through your nose for five seconds and hold for two seconds. Then release your breath through your mouth for five seconds.

Joel Bobby is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Psychiatry and Psychology in Austin, Minnesota.

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