BRAIN HEALTH | 2.27.2017 | BY DAYA ALEXANDER GRANT, PH.D., M.S.
Have you ever noticed how quiet and calm kids get when they color? It turns out that coloring can have a relaxing effect on the adult brain as well. Coloring forces us to unplug and shift away from the ubiquitous screens that seem to dominate our lives. It also stimulates creativity as we choose which colors to use. Additionally, it serves as a form of non-competitive play, which is important to maintain, but is largely lost, as we age. Coloring allows us to be artistic without the pressure of having to create a piece of work from scratch . . . just fill in the space between the already-established lines! In a sense, coloring is a form of meditation in that we focus on one tiny task at a time. If your mind wanders, you’ll end up coloring outside the lines, which will provide instant feedback on the state of your attention.
Ready to revive this elementary-school activity? You’re not the only one. Coloring books are being sold specifically for adults and these books are topping bestseller lists! The intricate black and white designs (more complex than in children’s coloring books) provide the perfect way to de-stress and quiet the mind.
When was the last time you colored? Unless you’re under the age of 12 or spend a lot of time with kids, it’s probably been quite a while. Next time you need to unwind, grab some colored pencils and get lost in the process of coloring.