Benefits of coloring

Emma Hennessy (TheLorian)

Let’s be honest: “adulting” can be hard. There are too many deadlines and not enough time to relax. Stress can really wear a person down, making it difficult to be productive. Sometimes, one needs to take time for themself to handle the stress of college. One way to reduce stress is by coloring. In recent years, adult coloring books have gained popularity among millennials and Gen z. While this pastime may appear childish for some, it has a lot of benefits for mental health.

Beaumont Health says that coloring relaxes the amygdala. This area of the brain is responsible for sensing threats. It is vital to relax this part of the brain in order to reduce anxiety. According to Healthline.com, the amygdala “activates [a person’s] fight or flight response.” While this area of the brain is meant to protect us from possible dangers, an overactive amygdala can wreak havoc on mental health. Coloring can help by relaxing the amygdala, making one less anxious.

Coloring can also improve your motor skills and vision. Coloring requires the two hemispheres of your brain to communicate (Beaumont Health). This is because one has to stay focused in order to color inside the lines, but not focused to the point of stress. Additionally, one gets to be creative with colors. This mixture of activities works on the left side of the brain as well as the right.

Another benefit of coloring is that it can help concentration. At work, stress can damage the quality of work due to a lack of concentration. Clay Behavioral Health Center says that coloring breaks allow the brain to regain focus and increase activity.

Coloring before bedtime can even help improve sleep. Most people scroll through their phones before bed; however, the Cleveland Clinic cites research that suggests this habit can suppress melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. The Cleveland Clinic says that phone light “mimics daylight” and tricks your body into thinking that it is daytime. This influences both sleep quality and energy levels. Try swapping the nightly phone scrolling for a coloring page.

Coloring can also help one connect with others, such as younger siblings and cousins at home. Coloring is a great way to interact with them in a way that both parties can enjoy. Perhaps join an art club and meet other people who like to spend their time coloring. 

It’s easy to see all of the benefits of coloring–try picking up a box of colored pencils and a piece of paper and put that brain to use!

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