Have you ever heard of the 'amygdala'? That's the section of the brain that becomes activated whenever you feel stressed or scared. Of course, every child knows about the joy of coloring. Well, researchers have discovered that coloring is good for you, too! This activity actually has a positive effect on your state of mind, and helps to relax your amygdala.
Five Benefits of Coloring
1. Relieves Stress
Coloring activates the parts of the brain that support creativity. A study conducted in 2005 by Nancy Curry and Tim Kasser found that those who colored pictures of mandalas reported drastically decreased anxiety levels. And a 2006 study by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University also found that coloring, and other art therapies, reduced the stress, anxiety, and fear associated with women’s cancer treatments.
2. Enhances Muscle Coordination
Coloring is an excellent way to ‘exercise your mind’. The activity utilizes both sides of the brain’s cerebral cortex, and promotes motor skills and coordination. And, similar to puzzles, it can also help to 'train our brains', making us more efficient, logical, and perceptive.
3. A Creative Way to 'Meditate'
Psychologist, Carl Jung, found that the process of coloring 'mandalas' helped his patients experience many of the benefits of meditation, including inner calm and self realization. He surmised that the mandala pattern was a symbol of the ‘self’, and explained why many of his patients would doodle circle drawings.
4. Promotes 'Positive' Thinking
Are you plagued by worries about your bills, your health, your family, or your future? Grab a coloring book. The activity can help replace patterns of negative thinking with more positive ones. It requires concentration, and thus tends to edge out any worrisome thoughts. Therefore, negative thought patterns actually decrease.
5. Join a 'Coloring Party'
In social circles, 'coloring book parties' are becoming commonplace, both on Facebook, and throughout the country. Coloring is a pretty 'low-pressure' activity, because there's really no right or wrong way to do it. So these kinds of social getherings offer an opportunity to interact meaningfully with new people, without the pressures that often accompany other social gatherings.
Some may view it as frivolous. But now you know... it's not 'just for fun'. Coloring is good for you, too! For myself, creating art is a great way to relax, and allows me to 'recreate' some of the beauty around me. Check out my gallery.