Coloring has long been a favorite pastime of young children. Not only do most children consider it a fun activity, but it is also beneficial for health and development in multiple ways. So, who said that the benefits go away for adults?
Coloring may not hold the same allure for adults as it does for kids, but it can offer some of the same benefits.
Coloring teaches focus
Many people struggle every day with keeping focus on simple tasks. Focus is an ability that can be hindered by many factors. Improper rest is probably the biggest detriment to good focus. People who are tired are less likely to be able to pay attention or retain information.
A poor diet can also contribute significantly to the inability to focus. Too much sugar or caffeine can cause people to have bursts of energy followed by crashes as the effects wear off. Neither one is conducive to focus. A lack of proper vitamins and minerals can also have negative effects.
Stress can be a factor, as well. If your brain is racing all the time as you worry about things that are not going well, you will be distracted and tired from the effort of thinking.
Coloring gives us the opportunity to hone in on a simple activity that does not require much planning or strategy. While a more creative mind can certainly turn coloring into something more complex, it is usually an activity that does not need much thought.
People who have attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often very good at fast-paced video games. This is because gaming gives them an outlet for putting their overactive brain to work on something that is somewhat complicated, but more fun than homework.
Their minds are stimulated, but due to the nature of the task, they do not get bored as quickly. This is why they can sit for hours and play a video game, but may struggle to sit still through a twenty-minute quiz. It’s all about motivation.
This is why coloring can be so effective. It can be satisfying and fun, but it only requires the brain to work on one thing at a time, thus helping the mind to focus.
Coloring provides a sense of achievement
Coloring provides you with a task that is easy to accomplish! Many people spend day after day going through lists of tasks that seem to never end. Sometimes it is the very nature of a job. For instance, people who work at a fast-food restaurant may never feel that the job is finished, because there will always be more people the next day.
Now, to be clear, this is not a problem for everybody. There are those who are fine with having the same routine every day, regardless of whether they made any tangible progress. But to many, this will quickly become wearisome and boring! These individuals need a task that can be finished in order to feel satisfied!
It doesn’t need to be a large task, either! At times, it is better to gain momentum for the day by accomplishing three or four small tasks before tackling the bigger ones. If the big job takes longer than expected, you can still look back and see the several small things that were accomplished.
Coloring is a good exercise for this. You can take pride, even if it is just a little bit, in the fact that you finished what you started, regardless of the quality level. This builds confidence and increases productivity.
Coloring reduces stress
Do you ever wish you could just shut your brain off for a bit and stop thinking about all the things that are bothering you? Coloring allows you to immerse yourself in an activity while taking your mind off other things.
It may actually work better for some people than meditation exercises, because the mind tends to wander while you are in the process of trying to think about nothing. Focusing on one thing exclusively allows the mind to have something constructive to latch onto. This means you have a focal point outside of your worries and fears; your mind can narrow in on that one point while you subconsciously sort through your troubles.
This is similar to what can happen when you have a problem and you sleep on it. In the morning, the problem is still there, but your mind will have a more organized approach to it, and it is easier to address the problem without as much emotion or stress.
Also, coloring can be fun, and fun is the natural enemy of stress. Keeping an element of fun in everything you do is the best way to keep your stress levels under control.
Coloring can improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
This is one of the biggest advantages for children, but it can also help adults. There have been examples of how activities requiring a level of finesse can help keep the mind sharp for young and older people.
Things like playing the piano or another instrument can keep the mind alert as we age. Coloring is similar. It forces the brain to analyze the page and decide what colors various sections should be. It also aids the development of fine motor skills, which are needed to stay within the lines.
Precision and attention to detail are both important traits that can be learned from coloring.
Coloring is a good time filler
Have you ever thought about how many hours you spend on your phone browsing or playing games while you wait? If you are in a waiting room at the doctor’s office, sitting in class waiting for the teacher, or on the bus riding home from work, you have time that could be filled with something constructive. Instead, you are glued to your phone, and all of those hours are being wasted.
Coloring may not have as much value as finishing homework or preparing a presentation for a board meeting, but it is still better than wasting that time doing nothing of value. Use your waiting time to do something relaxing and satisfying. Your news feed will still be there later.
Coloring nourishes creativity
Again, this is most visible in children, but even adults can suffer from a lack of creativity, or at least a lack of confidence in their artistic and creative abilities. Being creative does not just help you to be more artistic. It can also help you in your ability to problem solve!
Finding interesting new ways to do things can help you to be successful in many areas of life.
Coloring produces free decorations
This one may seem a bit silly, but there are several ways in which coloring can have a deeper meaning. Parents treasure the pictures their children make, hanging them on the refrigerator, placing them in a frame, and using them as gifts for family and friends. These gifts are reminders of happy memories as children get older.
Adults can look at their past artwork as a source of inspiration, or an indicator of growth. It is important to track development — it is physical evidence of your creativity maturing and improving as you learn.
A colored illustration can make a heartfelt personal gift, even when it’s from an adult. People tend to have a greater appreciation for gifts that are handmade.
All of these are good reasons for adults to revisit their childhoods and pick up a coloring book. But the most important reason is that coloring is just good fun!
Never forget to take a second to enjoy life, even if that means doing something as simple as coloring.
Kyle is an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for nature and sustainability. When he is not writing, you will find him in his workshop crafting with local wood, hiking in the Arizona mountains, fly fishing, horseback riding or putting together a healthy meal in the kitchen.