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    What's Going On When We Color?

    Posted by Abby Cook on Fri, Oct 30, 2015

    There is a new craze in the world, and it's adult coloring books. Sure, as a kid coloring was a favorite past time for many, but why color as an adult? Maybe you are looking for a burst of creativity or a "new" hobby. But did you know that there is science behind all of this?  MedicalDaily.com recently wrote an article about the therapeutic advantages of this childhood pastime. Read what they had to say about what happens when we color.


    Just because adult coloring alone may not constitute art therapy, that doesn’t mean the activity isn’t helpful. Theresa Citerella, an art therapy student at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., told Medical Daily that she has seen more people using the coloring books, both in class and in therapy, to help them focus.

    “A lot of my fellow graduate classmates bring these coloring books into the classroom setting as a tool to focus more on lectures,” Citerella said, explaining that more professors are beginning to welcome this behavior. “For my internship, I find the clients who are fidgeting and cannot sit still ask for coloring the books in order to concentrate on group discussions. We have several adult coloring books at my site to offer the clients.”

    And considering the inability to focus is often a symptom of anxiety or stress, it only makes sense that adult coloring books would also help with those as well. Dr. Stan Rodski, a neuropsychologist who also happens to be the author of his own line of adult coloring books, says that coloring elicits a relaxing mindset, similar to what you would achieve through meditation. Like mediation, coloring allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus on the moment. Tasks with predictable results, such as coloring or knitting, can often be calming — Rodski was even able to see the physical effects they had on our bodies by using advanced technology.

    “The most amazing things occurred — we started seeing changes in heart rate, changes in brainwaves,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, adding that part of this neurological response in “colorists” comes from the repetition and attention to patterns and detail associated with coloring.

    Dr. Joel Pearson, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia presented a different explanation for the therapeutic effect: Concentrating on coloring an image may facilitate the replacement of negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones.

    “You have to look at the shape and size, you have to look at the edges, and you have to pick a color,” Pearson told Nine MSN. “It should occupy the same parts of the brain that stops any anxiety-related mental imagery happening as well. ... Anything that helps you control your attention is going to help.”


    So, now that you know what goes on when we color, take some time out of your busy, stressful week and make some time for yourself. For the Halloween holiday, we created some of our own coloring pages for you to enjoy! Click here or the button below to download your free Halloween Coloring Pages!

    Let's Color!


    Topics: Halloween, Coloring

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