Just like meditation, coloring allows us to slow down our brains and focus only on the moment which helps to decrease stress and anxiety.
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"Adult coloring books promise stress relief."
- USA Today, December, 2015
I have been encouraging my clients to color for years. In the beginning I would tell them to get a children's coloring book and a box of crayons and give themselves permission to relax and take time to just sit and color. Now we have "adult coloring books!" No kid's stuff here!
Whether you are coloring a book for children or an adult design, coloring is good for your overall health. Just like meditation, coloring allows us to switch off our brain from other thoughts and focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety. I often pull out the coloring "equipment" when I need my own stress reduction. Even the great psychologist Carl Jung suggested that coloring was good for our mental health. It's a great way to meditate, relax and calm ourselves as well as turn our focus to the image we are coloring rather than other intrusive or negative thoughts. People who struggle with mental health issues including anxiety & stress disorders, post traumatic stress, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, anger management issues, and substance abuse issues can find relief in the act of coloring.
The act of coloring calms the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls our fight or flight response and keeps individuals in a heightened state of panic, fear and hyper-vigilance when it is active. Coloring and focusing on the image and colors turns the fight or flight response down, letting your brain calm, rest and relax. Coloring also utilizes the part of our brain that enhances focus, concentration and problem solving.
Mandalas are a great design to color because mandalas are used as a form of meditation. It's a great way to slow down and "go in" many times finding answers and insights in the process. As you turn your focus on the mandala, allow yourself to take in the lovely designs, allow your mind to relax into the page and colors. If your mind starts to stress about chores or tasks, simply bring your focus and attention back to the beauty of the mandala. Let the mandala absorb all your attention by allowing yourself to fully fall into it and gazing into the colors. As you enter the energy of the mandala don't be surprised if you experience a feeling of lightness and increased intuitive awareness. Relax, let the thoughts and feelings come to you. Allow yourself to float with it. If you begin to feel panic, feel lost, uncomfortable or if you start thinking about stressful things again, take a deep breath and refocus your attention back to the mandala.
Adult coloring books clearly help serve many purposes that are beneficial. They can be so much more than simply adding color to a page. The act of coloring can be therapeutic, relaxing, calming, problem solving, and inspirational! Coloring is highly effective for many reasons and the ideas behind them have stood the test of time, even if they may feel like just the latest fad. Are you ready to give it a try? You can check out Coloring Me Calm here. Please share your colored pages with me on Facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/livingwithinspiration/. I'd love to see your designs!