If you ask any artist they will tell you that once they get involved in their chosen activity they loose track of time. It is as if time stands still, all senses are dedicated to the act of creation. Hubby sometimes comes home and ask why I am not answering his calls. Well, it's because when I paint I am in the "Zone" and as far as I am concerned the house could burn down without me noticing. In a way it is like achieving Nirvana, a heightened state of relaxation and happiness.
No wonder that coloring books for adults have become such a huge trend. Even researchers at Johns Hopkins University suggest coloring as an alternative to meditation.
Now couple this with super pretty black and white coloring books that seem to be popping up just about everywhere and it's no wonder this has become a craze. But let's look at it a bit more and see exactly what is happening.
Benefits of Coloring Books
According to clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis, when you participate in stress-free activities like coloring, the amygdala (fear center of the brain) is relaxed. The amygdala is what sets you into high alarm when you hear a crashing sound or a crying baby. As you get more and more involved in coloring that area of the brain relaxes and reduces your stress levels.
Helps with Concentration
Remember as a kid you were taught to color within the lines. I am imagining myself cramping my fingers around a pencil, tongue sticking out and really, really concentrating on stating within the designated borders. These rules are passe now, but lesson learned is that it does force the brain to concentrate on one task.
Spurs Creativity and Individualism
Since a coloring books lets you to choose colors and allows you to add your own twist to the page,coloring is a great way to spur your creativity. There is no right or wrong way and coloring outside the lines is part of the creative process.
Improves Motor Skills
Coloring activates both hemispheres of the brain, the activity of both looking at the designs, choosing colors and the movement of the hand, improve fine motor skills and vision. Gloria Martinez Ayala points out that "The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors, which incorporates areas of the cerebral cortex in vision and fine motor skills.
Could Prevent the Onset of Dementia
Keeping the brain active by doing activities like crossword puzzles, brain games and coloring is therapeutic for the brain and can help delay the onset of dementia.
Being an artist I have a lot of art supplies, but for coloring books I love using water color pencils. These are coloring pencils that when you dip them in water will release pigment, which can then be manipulated all over the page by varying color intensity. You can even mix colors, for even more fun. I used Color Magic Water Color Pencils, which I received for review purposes and like to introduce to you. The set comes in a metal box and has 36 colors plus a watercolor brush. I found that dipping the pencils in water directly released the color fast. The shades are strong and there is a nice selection of colors.