While colouring never goes out of style for kids, it’s now a booming business for adults as well. And for good reason: Coloring is not only fun – it may help you stay healthy.
“Colouring appears to be universal – a valuable tool for individuals of all ages,” says Andrea Smith, PhD, a psychologist at Green Oaks Hospital in Dallas, Texas. According to Smith, colouring has the power to ease your mind and boost your mood. Here are four ways that colouring can brighten your life and improve your health.Reason 1: Tame stress
On most days, your brain and body are in high gear. Whether you’re running from meeting to meeting or from soccer games to dance lessons, sitting down at some point in the day for even a brief colouring session can clear your mind of added stressors. “Often I’ll recommend colouring to patients as a part of their bedtime routine,” says Smith. Bonus: Making colouring part of your nighttime ritual means you're shutting down electronics, and that can make for better sleep.Reason 2: Reduce anxiety
Anxious? Get out the crayons. A study of 57 college students shows promising evidence that art therapies such as colouring, painting, drawing and clay modelling, even if done for short periods of time, may reduce anxiousness. And colouring might not only help with situational anxiety but also with anxiety disorders. “Engaging in creative therapeutic tasks like colouring can induce relaxation that helps many people feel more in control of their anxiety,” says Smith. And while colouring might not be the “solution,” she says, it may be one piece of the puzzle, that, along with individual therapy, relaxation skills and medication, can help manage anxiety symptoms .Reason 3: Improve focus
If you have a hard time concentrating, taking a break to colour may help you return to your task with fresh focus. “Colouring gives us the opportunity to home in on a simple activity that does not require much planning or strategy,” Smith says. Further, she says, colouring only requires the brain to work on one thing at a time, thus helping the mind to focus.Reason 4: Increase productivity
In a world of never-ending to-do lists, Smith says, we crave completion but rarely achieve it. And while colouring itself can’t check off your to-dos, it may give you a sense of accomplishment that primes you to get more things done more effectively. “Colouring provides a task that is fairly easy to accomplish,” she says. “You can take pride, even if it is just a little bit, in the fact that you completed something you started, regardless of the quality level. This builds confidence and increases productivity.”