There has been a large increase in coloring books specifically for adults in the last 6 or 7 years. Part of this increase has been that once it was started, and adults started doing it, researchers were keen to understand whether it had any therapeutic benefits. People who are suffering from depression, anxiety and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Autism Spectrum Disorder and schizophrenia have all reported that coloring in calms them and helps them return from a heightened, emotional state to a more centred state of mind. Scientists speculate that the discipline of being guided by the lines helps to create order in disordered minds.
There have been many studies in recent years that demonstrate many good benefits that coloring in can have not just for children but for adults as well. Developing skills with colouring in can be developed even with people who may not have very artistic talents. It builds their confidence and can support further artistic skill building.
The 5 most relevant therapeutic benefits of coloring for adults
- Focusing on the lines of the picture that lies before you helps you to achieve a state of mindfulness as you are being completely present and not distracted by other thoughts.
- The lack of distraction quietens a busy and anxious mind.
- This quieting lowers stress and anxiety, giving you relief from worry.
- It boosts your self-esteem as you engage in a creative process that does not require much independent thought or skills.
- It promotes good sleep if done prior to bedtime as the positive effects of reducing anxiety will stay with you. Over time this reduced anxiety improves mental and physical well-being
Children are very good at knowing what their brain needs for optimum development. Of course, they do not know the scientific reasons that they enjoy play or using their imagination, they just enjoy doing it. Whenever children are choosing a particular activity, for them it means it is fun. When something is fun, it is not stressful. This enhances their skill level and brain development, compared to passive pursuits such as watching tv.
Before we knew the brain science behind coloring in, we did know that it was something that most children loved to do, as long as they were given kind and supportive praise for doing so. Now we know that colouring in improves brain development.It creates neural pathways and improves manual dexterity and strength in fingers and hands that can be used later for writing and drawing.
Coloring-in promotes patience, confidence and concentration. These things that technology can sometimes impede in children, with parents who are looking for something passive to entertain children. Children need to be engaged with their full senses, and coloring in assists in integrating touch and sight. This within the context of a social activity at school or at home helps to build their confidence as they are producing a beautiful artistic product which they are praised for.
Many types of creative pursuits reduce anxiety as they focus the mind away from the anxiety[-inducing entity. However, compared with other creative pursuits, coloring-in mandalas are even more anxiety reducing than for example drawing or painting. It appears to be the case as there does not need to be much effort in completing it in the sense of having to use a thinking part of the brain. Experiments have proven that completing geometric patterns lowers stress and anxiety levels. It appears that the predictability of the mandala’s structure, draws participants into a surrendered state of mind which measurably reduces the anxiety that was present prior to the mandala coloring-in session. The repetition of patterns is a proven strategy to reduce anxiety.
It is hypothesised that coloring in mandalas produces a state of relaxation in the mind, similar to the effect achieved through meditation. For people who find that their mind continues to ‘wander’ when attempting to meditate, may find coloring mandalas to be more therapeutic.
Our site includes black outline masters that you can print out for your children to spend many hours happily coloring, side by side, without fighting. It teaches them appreciation of the beauty of color, assists them to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as they strive to stay within the lines.
We also have a wonderful digital tool box that allows your children to do online coloring in. You can help to build your child’s mouse control with our easy to click-and-color toolbox and color palette. You can easily save each image as it is done and have them saved into a file for easy access and display. You can also trial the image color selections digitally and once you like a particular color combination, you can print out the image as a black and white outline and reproduce it according to your selections.
Sending these saved digital pictures to family via social media is also a great way to keep in touch with loved ones who live at a distance. Creative and technologically savvy families can also use apps like Facetime to color in and share this time while watching and doing together, though separated by distance. This is a great way for parents who work away such as members of the defence forces, to stay united.
Our site has many images of popular characters and we have organised them by themes. For educational purposes we also have themes such as letters of the alphabet or numbers for them to reinforce the shapes and designs of these important learning tools. You will find many of your children’s favourite characters from movies and television in our pages such , such as Disney, Paw Patrol, Frozen, Ninja Turtles, Cars, and many different superheroes. You can spend many hours just browsing the site for great ideas and images.
You can print out a lot of images and collate them into your own customized coloring-in book for your kids. Teachers will love the many educationally themed pages such as the Diversity collection that can help when teaching topics.