Are you one of those people who doodles while they listen? Perhaps you use drawing or painting as an outlet to work through painful feelings. Or maybe, you’re not artistic at all and you’ve never thought to put pen to paper for “therapeutic purposes”.
Perhaps it’s time you did. The bottom line is: creativity is healthy for humans.
Remember when you were a kid? If there was a marker or crayon within 10 ft of you, you’d find it and start coloring on something. Coloring isn’t reserved just for kids or professional illustrators anymore. With the emergence of adult coloring books, adults have been given “permission” to act like a kid again— and it’s actually good for you!
Adult coloring books have become a major trend since the first commercially successful ones were published back in 2012 and 2013. Since then, hundreds more have been published on subjects from complicated mandalas, to Dia de los Muertos, to Harry Potter. It truly feels like there is a coloring book out there for everyone!
I admit, this seems like an odd trend. Why would adults spend their free time coloring in little white spaces? You’re not even creating something new—and what are you supposed to do with it when you’re done? Frame it? Trust me when I say that I was skeptical at first. A friend gave me this mindfulness coloring book when I was going through a hard time. It felt awkward at first, but now I find myself pulling it off the shelf whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed.
The point is not necessarily to be productive, it’s to give yourself an outlet for whatever you need—your anger, your creativity, your sadness, etc. Or simply use one to get your mind unstuck. Art therapy in general has been studied since the 1940’s, and while it may not be able to cure cancer, studies have shown that creating art has helped people in dealing with many conditions such as PTSD, dementia, anxiety, and depression.
Coloring as art therapy is a newer idea and has only been studied since the 90’s (Source: Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association). However, many therapists do not consider it to be the same thing:
“I don’t consider the coloring books as art therapy,” she told The Guardian. “I consider the coloring books therapeutic, which is not the same thing.”
-Drena Fagen, an art therapist at NYU’s Steinhardt School
Regardless of this debate on classification, coloring does offer benefits to humans. Coloring allows us to “switch off” and focus on the moment. It’s meditative. It has the potential to reduce stress and increase focus. For many adults who don’t consider themselves to be artistic, it is a safe, easy way to explore something that might otherwise make them uncomfortable.
You’ve got to admit: there is something therapeutic about coloring beautiful swear words like a f***ing adult. It’s the ultimate self-help.
What do you think about adult coloring books? Are you a fan?
YouTube Channel: Medical Daily
Featured image via Toner Refill Kits