Childhood Past-time Helps Adults De-Stress

DSC_0791 Oct 2015by Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D. © 2015

Right after the plane takes off for New York, I dig through my carry-on bag and pull out my new Nature Mandalas Coloring Book (1) and colored pencils (read blog New Trend Isn’t For Kids). This is the perfect time to start my first creation. I too joined the coloring craze.

“Busy parents and harried business people will go to great lengths to find the newest and best relaxation method, but the stress-reducer that is soaring in popularity is something that most people haven’t done since elementary school — coloring.” (2) There are four ways coloring can help de-stress our lives. Which benefit will encourage you to join the coloring craze?

Promotes Coordination

The first benefit is increased and long-term coordination. Children work hard at acquiring these skills. “Fine motor skills require extra work by your brain to coordinate your actions, and muscle control in the hands and arms, coloring can help delay loss of these important skills as we age.” (3) Working on a detailed or more challenging pattern can help combat cognitive loss. The picture of my coloring page is simple, not yet intricate. There are many free coloring pages available online. Which one will you choose?

Relaxation Lowers Stress

Relaxation is the next benefit. Psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala says, “When coloring, we activate different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres. The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity . . .This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills.” (4) The basic part of the brain that controls emotions affected by stress is the amygdala. Coloring lowers the activity of the amygdala which results in relaxation. Does potential relaxation motivate you to try coloring?

Improved Performance

A third benefit of coloring is better performance at work. “Creative activities outside of work, such as coloring, had indirect and direct effects on performance-related outcomes on the job.” (3) Zappos encourages employees to display their artwork at their desks. Other organizations are providing memberships to art studios or lessons to improve performance. Could coloring improve your performance whether you work inside or outside of your home?

Unleashing Creativity

The fourth benefit is unlocking creativity. “Everyone has the potential to be creative. However, sometimes our imaginations are stifled by social expectations, daily life, and limited time.” (5) As we grow, we fill our minds with facts, more facts, and even more facts. We begin to think analytically. When was the last time you Googled a fact?

But children color pictures using any color they wish. This week when I helped in my grandson’s first grade class, the children were exploring colors. They were coloring candy corn as part of their math addition activity. Parker shows me his crayon and says, “Grams, I like the red-violet crayon.”

Unblock Imaginations

Children know candy corn doesn’t have to be yellow, orange and white. And manufacturers agree. For Christmas, candy corns are red and green. For Easter, pastel colors. When we use coloring books, “We are helping to unblock our imaginations. Even more so if we challenge ourselves to ‘color outside the lines,’ so to speak.” (3) I love to “color outside the lines,” what about you?

Let me know what coloring you try. Did you discover any of these four benefits? Did you find a benefit not included in this blog? You can even send me a photo of your coloring. Happy Coloring Adults!

Sources:

  1. Thaneeya McArdle, New Design Originals Corporation, 2014.
  2. Thinking Outside of the Crayon Box, Adults Use Coloring Books as Stress-Reducer by NBC Nightly News. www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/thinkingoutsidecrayonboxadults. May 11, 2015. Accessed 10/3/2015.
  3. A New Way to De-Stress: Coloring Books for Adults.www.bestkeptself.com/…/our-favorite-coloringbooks-for-adults-a-new Accessed 10/2/2015.
  4. Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress. Elena Santos, The Huffington Post. Posted 10/13/2014. Accessed 10/2/2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/13/coloring-for-stress_n_5975832.html
  5. Benefits of Coloring Books for Adults by Jayme Kinsey. http://www.thepencentral.com/view/articles/benefits-of-coloring-books-for-adults-500. Published approximately 2013. Accessed 10/2/2015.

 

 

 

 

 

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