The Sisterly Talk “Women’s Wellness Hub”

Why Should You Consider Coloring as a Stress Management Tool?

September 5, 2023

Have you ever experienced the presence of stress in your life? Unfortunately, most of us have. However, what if there was a way to turn that stress into a constructive and therapeutic outlet? That’s where creative hobbies come in – a world where self-expression and artistry can serve as a sanctuary for your mind.

The idea of art as a form of therapy is not new. For centuries, people have utilized various forms of art to achieve mental clarity, emotional release, and stress management. In this blog post, we will go deeper into a pastime that you may have thought of as a childhood activity but has significant implications for adults – coloring.

Coloring has evolved from being a simple activity for children to a form of stress relief embraced by people of all ages. The popularity of adult coloring books has surged, with intricate designs that go far beyond the basic shapes and characters found in children’s versions. But why coloring? What makes this seemingly simple activity a powerhouse for stress management?

As we explore the therapeutic effects of coloring, we will also look into other creative outlets that can help you achieve a state of ‘flow’ – that magical zone where you lose yourself in the moment and emerge feeling revitalized. So, grab your choice of colored pencils, markers, or any other tools you prefer, and prepare to channel your stress into a world of vibrant hues and artistic freedom.

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What Does Science Say About Creativity Reducing Stress?

Did you know that engaging in creative activities can significantly reduce stress and promote a balanced mental state? This relationship between creativity and mental well-being has been studied by researchers, psychologists, and artists alike. 

One of the key elements of creativity’s stress-reducing capabilities is achieving a state of “flow.” When you’re fully immersed in an activity, you lose track of time and external worries, leading to a reduction in the production of the stress hormone cortisol. 

Engaging in creative activities, like coloring, also stimulates various parts of the brain responsible for motor skills, senses, and emotions. Research shows that just 45 minutes of art-making can lower cortisol levels, regardless of artistic ability. Additionally, coloring allows you to focus on the task at hand, let go of intrusive thoughts and achieve a state of mindfulness and non-judgmental attention. 

Artistic activities also provide an emotional outlet, allowing you to express feelings that may be difficult to articulate with words alone. A study has also shown that 45 minutes of creative activity significantly lessens stress in the body, regardless of artistic experience or talent.

By understanding the scientific foundation of how creativity reduces stress, we can better appreciate the depth of what may seem like a simple activity. So, next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider turning to a creative outlet like coloring. You’re not just creating a beautiful picture; you’re rewiring your brain for tranquillity and focus.

woman coloring

Is Coloring Only for Children or Can Adults Benefit Too?

Did you know that coloring can actually help reduce stress and improve cognitive function? Many people believe that coloring is just for children, but it’s actually a therapeutic activity that can benefit people of all ages.

Coloring has been shown to have a calming effect on the brain. Psychologists have researched and documented the benefits of coloring complex geometric patterns or nature scenes, emphasizing its potential therapeutic effects. This activity can also activate both brain hemispheres, improving cognitive function and motor skills.

Coloring is an artistic endeavor that can be incredibly satisfying. Completing a coloring page provides a sense of accomplishment, which boosts self-esteem and confidence. This activity is ageless, and seniors can also benefit from this fine motor exercise.

In addition, coloring can also reduce anxiety levels and encourage mindfulness. By focusing on the color choices and staying within lines, your brain is pulled away from future or past stressors and grounded in the present moment. It can also promote relaxation and lower stress hormones.

So, the next time you’re feeling stressed, consider picking up a coloring book. It’s a simple yet impactful activity that can help improve your mind and reduce stress levels.

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What Other Creative Avenues Can You Explore for Stress Relief?

There are many creative ways to manage stress besides coloring. Engaging in artistic activities can be beneficial no matter your skill level. Here are some other avenues you might try:

Painting: Whether you prefer watercolor, acrylic, or oil, painting can be therapeutic and enjoyable. Like coloring, it allows you to focus on the creative process and be mindful.

Knitting or crocheting: The repetitive motions of these crafts can be calming, and you get the added satisfaction of creating a functional item.

Sculpting: Working with clay or other materials can be grounding and requires concentration, distracting you from stress.

Writing or journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you organize them and gain insight into your stress triggers.

Photography: Framing a photo and focusing on composition can be a form of mindfulness, and it gets you out and about for some fresh air and light exercise.

Cooking or baking: The process of measuring, mixing, and enjoying the final product can be satisfying and a great diversion from stress.

Music: Playing an instrument or listening to music can be therapeutic and involve cognitive function and fine motor skills.

DIY crafts: Making jewelry or home decor can be a blend of problem-solving and creativity, reducing stress.

Each of these activities can help you focus your mind and feel accomplished, reducing stress. Don’t limit yourself to just one; try a few and find what works best for you.

Image by Freepik

How Can You Get Started with Coloring for Stress Management?

Are you interested in using coloring as a way to manage stress, but don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry, it’s actually quite simple to get started. The great thing about coloring is that you don’t need any specialized skills or tools to enjoy the benefits. Here’s a beginner’s guide to help you get started:

Materials You’ll Need:

To begin, you’ll need a coloring book designed for adults. There are many options available with various themes and designs, like inspirational quotes, nature scenes, and architecture. 

Here are two great coloring books you can try:

     

You’ll also need a set of colored pencils, markers, or crayons. Each type has its own unique texture, so it’s a good idea to try out a few different options to see which you prefer.

Finally, it’s important to have a comfortable space to color in. While you can color anywhere, having a designated area with good lighting and calming music or sounds can enhance the experience.

Steps to Get Started:

Choose a coloring sheet that catches your eye. Starting with a simpler design can help ease any intimidation, and you can gradually work your way up to more complex patterns.

Before you start coloring, lay out the colors you want to use. Some people like to plan their color schemes in advance, while others prefer to choose colors as they go.

Start coloring in one section at a time. You can work from the center outwards, or vice versa. Don’t worry about coloring within the lines – this is your personal time to relax, not a test of your artistic skills.

Take your time while coloring. The goal is to fully engage in the activity, so allow yourself to get lost in the meditative action.

Once you’re finished, take a moment to step back and appreciate your work. How do you feel? Lighter? Calmer? This is also an opportunity to reflect on the experience, noting what you enjoyed and how you can improve next time.

Apps to Assist You:

If you prefer digital coloring experiences, there are several apps available like Pigment and Recolor. These apps allow you to color intricate designs right from your smartphone or tablet.

Coloring is a simple and effective way to manage stress and promote relaxation. So grab your coloring tools and start your journey towards a more tranquil, stress-free you.

The Final Take on Using Coloring as a Stress Relief Tool.

Wondering if coloring can help reduce stress? Absolutely! It’s not just for kids – adults can benefit from this creative outlet too. Coloring takes us back to a simpler time, providing a peaceful escape from the chaos of everyday life. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, incorporating coloring into your stress-management routine can have many positive effects on your mind and soul. Remember, the end result isn’t what’s important – it’s the process of each stroke and moment of relaxation that can help you find inner peace.

If you’re interested in exploring more creative stress-relief options, check out 

The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron for guidance on tapping into your creativity, or 

“Color Me Calm” by Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter for a collection of stress-reducing designs. 

Happy coloring!

 

References:
  • Csikszentmihalyi, M. “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,” Harper & Row, 1990.
  • Kaimal, G., Ray, K., & Muniz, J. “Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants’ Responses Following Art Making,” Art Therapy Journal, 2016, 33(2), 74-80.
  • Van der Vennet, R., & Serice, S. “Can Coloring Mandalas Reduce Anxiety?” Art Therapy Journal, 2012, 29(2), 87-92.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding your hormonal health or any medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read in this blog post. The author and publisher of this blog post are not responsible or liable for any actions taken as a result of reading the information provided herein. Reliance on any information provided in this blog post is solely at your own risk.

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