Coloring books are no longer just for the kids. In fact, adult coloring books are becoming very popular.
According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a health profession in which the process of making and creating artwork is used to “explore feelings, coordinate emotional conflicts, increase self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills and increase self-esteem.” So basically, it’s Yet art therapy is not just about learning and improving yourself, it’s a means of personal expression, too.
However, it is important to understand that using an adult coloring book is not exactly the same as completing an art therapy session. “Coloring itself cannot be called art therapy because art therapy is focused on the relationship between the client and the therapist,” says Marygrace Berberian, a certified art therapist and the Clinical Assistant. The art therapy was first practiced in the 1940s, and the first research on using coloring as therapy is generally believed to begun in the mid-90s, according to Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association.
The Health Benefits of Adult Coloring Books
Although, coloring and art therapy aren’t quite the same thing, coloring does offer a slew of mental benefits. “Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to lower anxiety, create focus or bring more mindfulness,” says Berberian. Groundbreaking research in 2005 proved anxiety levels dropped when respondents colored mandalas, which are round frames with geometric patterns inside. They had no effect in reducing the other subjects’ stress levels.
Similar to meditation, coloring also allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus only on the moment. It can be more effective for people who aren’t comfortable with more creatively expressive forms of art, says Berberian, “Those participants who are more guarded find a lot of tranquility in coloring an image. It feels safer and it creates containment around their process,” she adds.
How to Get Started
You want to start and fill in some pages? Just keep in mind, if you’re dealing with some mental or emotional issues, art therapy is going to be more effective than coloring solo. But for those who just need a hobby to help them chill out, these can be the right thing. As Berberian puts it, “I truly believe that people should be engaging in activities that make them feel restored.”
According to ColoringBooks.net, adults should skip the crayons and go straightforward for the colored pencils (precision is everything when it comes to tuning in). And Crayola has a complete guide that shows how to take your tools up a notch by blending colors, shading and adding highlights and lowlights to your newfound masterpieces. Now get scribbling and relax for at least 20 min per day!