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What Is Coloring Books for Adults?

Isabella loves colors. She tie dyes her beddings, clothes and towels and loves to make her home colorful. Colors helps reduce her depression


Have you sometimes wondered about the adult coloring books trendy craze that suddenly boomed popularity in 2015?

We know coloring books is a common thing for kids. What is coloring books for adults, then? Why has it become so popular? Well, it is because adult coloring books activities has taken on a whole new concept.

The practice of adults coloring books or pages is now used for therapeutic reasons such as stress and anxiety relief, relaxation, improve mood, deal with loss or trauma, enhance creativity and for improved wellbeing.

In fact, the practice of coloring pages by adults dates back to the 17th Century when it was used for artistic training purposes. Not therapeutic. Coloring books as a form of self-help adult art therapy became popular in 2010s. The first commercially successful adult coloring books were published in 2012 and 2013, and gained popularity thereafter.

According to Google Trends, a million copies of adult coloring books were sold in 2014 and the number jumped to 12 million in 2015. The boom busted thereafter but the practice still remains popular to date.


Benefits of Coloring Books

Various studies into the adult coloring phenomenon have documented many therapeutic benefits to adults who take up the coloring books pastime. “Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring [about] more mindfulness”, says Marygrace Berberian, a certified Art Therapist and the Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the Graduate Art Therapy Program at NYU.

It has been reported that coloring books brings adults a sense of their childhood and help with developing fine motor skills and vision, creating focus, and relieving stress and anxiety in a manner similar to meditation.

(1) Reduce Anxiety

Various published papers studying the effectiveness of mandala-coloring as a therapeutic intervention for reducing anxiety reports that “coloring a mandala reduces anxiety to a significantly greater degree than coloring on a plaid design or coloring on a blank paper”. Another research conducted on university students found that “using mandala-coloring as a therapeutic intervention can reduce State Anxiety and Trait Anxiety in university students”.

(2) Relieve Stress

Coloring also influences mood, stress and mindfulness. This study findings reports that “coloring is a mindfulness technique that will improve mood and decrease stress”. Focusing on colors takes our minds away from our worries and the sources of our stress. Coloring relaxes and calms the mind so the creative juices of your imagination can flow freely.

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(3) Coloring Activates the Brain

According to psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala, the act of coloring uses both sides of the brain and involves both logic and creativity. When we use logic to choose a color, the analytical part of the brain is activated. On the other hand, when we mix and match colors, the creative side of the brain is activated. This helps the cerebral cortex which control vision and help with coordination and fine motor skills.

(4) Coloring for Self-Discovery

In today’s technology-enhanced life on the fast lane, adults are often preoccupied with so many “things to do” they may not have enough “me time” for reflection and inner self-discovery. Coloring pages at the end of the day can help the adult to be one with his/her thoughts and enhance self-discovery. It helps adults explore their emotions, develop self-awareness and thereby cope with stress.

(5) Coloring for Self-Expression

Coloring pages is a creative process that helps adults explore self-expression and, through that find new ways to gain insights into their inner self and develop new coping skills. Those who have gone through painful traumas can express themselves through creativity using colors.

Adult coloring books is a creative therapeutic process that uses color, images and shapes to explore, understand and express our own thoughts and feelings that would otherwise be difficult to articulate.


Is Coloring Books an Art Therapy?

Experts in art therapy say that adult coloring books is not really an art therapy. Art therapy is professional therapy one undergoes with the guidance of a credentialed art therapist. Adult coloring books are more of self-help therapeutic activity for one’s personal wellbeing. Studies have shown that it can also achieve the same results as one would achieve with professional art therapists. Coloring books is self-care whilst art therapy incorporates creative, life-enhancing work within a professional context.

Where to Get Adult Coloring Books

There is a wide range of adult coloring books available online on Amazon that you can purchase. There are hundreds of themes you can choose from. Animals, nature, flowers, mandalas, abstracts and a great variety you can choose from however you like.

Adult coloring books are also offered digitally, via ebooks, apps and coloring pages that can be colored online or downloaded and colored. Check out your Android and iOS app store for more.

Best Adult Coloring Books Review

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Isabella

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