Coloring books are therapeutic – did you know? For those who used to color or draw, many have fond memories of drifting off into thoughts about the next colors you should use. All of those other worries were left behind for a little while. Now, adults who colored as kids may still find it just as soothing. And, no, it’s not just the nostalgia kicking in. If you’ve seen children color, they’re usually much calmer and focus their energy on creating a brand new masterpiece.

But coloring books are so childish, right? Wrong. Although adult coloring books got their start in the 1960s, they didn’t really take off until a few years ago. Back in 2015, adult coloring books exploded onto store shelves – and into our homes. So, what makes the art of coloring so appealing to adults now?

1. Coloring Books Relax You

Those of you who loved to color as children will most likely feel more relaxed while using adult coloring books. The activity may take you back to simpler times and serve as a distraction from any stress and anxiety. Instead of letting worries run on a loop, those who color focus on the patterns and their color choices. It’s a great, safe way to express creativity and destress.

2. They Help With Dexterity And Motor Skills

Practice makes perfect, right? Taking the time to color in various shapes and sizes helps not only with patience, but with fine motor skills. While coloring, you’re working muscles that probably aren’t used every day (especially with the dawn of computers and other electronics). Think back to grade school, when the pencils and crayons were much thicker than the pens and colored pencils we use now. Those larger supplies are used to help young children master the dexterity necessary for thinner utensils.

Tip: Leave the phone and electronics in another room. You didn’t have a smartphone next to those crayons when you were five, right?

3. Coloring Books Make You Use Both Sides Of Your Brain

Many have been asked: “Are you left or right-brained?” Well, the left side of your brain is responsible for logic, calculating, planning, and sequencing. The right side of your brain focuses more on imagination, feelings, and intuition. Coloring books call for both sides to come together using sequencing, planning, imagination, and feelings. Think of it as a fun workout for your brain. When was the last time you sat down and colored – or even just sat down to clear your mind and have a little bit of fun?

Coloring can offer potential decrease in stress and anxiety as well as help inspire mindfulness. So, if you’re ready to dive into a fun activity, check out our all new coloring and activity book, Find Your True Colors In 12 Steps Expanded Edition, which joins journaling, coloring, and the 12 Steps used in recovery. Or, see our coloring and storybook, My Family Is Hurting – What Can I Do? The 8 Cs Coloring Book, which is perfect to get kids started on coloring, too!


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Samantha Curreli
Samantha Curreli is a staff writer at Reach Out Recovery. Sam is also a graduate of Arcadia University's MFA in Creative Writing Program and a freelance journalist for New Jersey music magazine, The Aquarian Weekly. She has had multiple pieces of fiction published in literary magazines and short story anthologies.

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