Coloring books date back to our preschool days when illegible scribbles were praised as masterpieces. Somewhere along the way, though, we lose interest or get too busy to the point where sitting down and coloring is just not something we have time for as adults.

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re missing out on, though? Coloring books for adults are gaining increasing popularity and for very good reason.

Dating all the way back to the early 1900s, renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung used the drawing and coloring of mandalas as a form of therapy, with the mandalas being the “psychological expression of the totality of the self.”

Catching up to current day, studies still demonstrate the psychological and mental health benefits of coloring, and it’s widely implemented in modern therapy. Here are three significant ways in which coloring books help contribute to a healthy mind.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Affecting millions of Americans, anyone surviving a traumatic event is at risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder, such as military service members, survivors of a natural disaster or mass violence, or victims of personal physical violence. Coloring books have proved to be an effective therapy for PTSD, as the act of coloring reduces the activity of the amygdala in the brain, which consequently reduces its reaction to fear and anxiety. Calming the amygdala trains your body that a fear reaction is not necessary and that it is safe to not panic in trigger situations.

Good Night’s Sleep

When your mind can focus on one thing, one non-stressful thing, it helps the body relax. As your brain focuses directly on coloring, it tunes out all the stresses you are dealing with throughout the day or in your life. Taking a few minutes before bed to color, instead of watching television or using your phone, allows you to get your body prepared for a more restful night’s sleep. This may prove to be a very helpful habit, not only for adults but also for getting children to develop healthy sleep routines.

Delaying Dementia

Coloring books utilize both hemispheres of the brain, incorporating both logic and creativity as you color. This acts as an enhanced cognitive exercise, similar to crossword puzzles, which has been proven to help delay the onset of dementia. The hand-eye coordination necessary for coloring also helps to refine motor skills, both in the young and elderly. Although not a preventative measure, coloring books help to keep older minds as sharp as possible for as long as possible.

 

With these benefits and more being credited to coloring books, the next time your son or daughter asks for the crayons, grab a few yourself. Not only will this do your mind some good, it will create special bonding moments for you and your child.

 

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