Like most “overnight successes”, adult coloring books have been around for years, with examples of the genre first appearing around 2012. Since that time, adult coloring books have transitioned from a niche hobby to mainstream passion. These days it’s surprising to see a bestseller list without an adult coloring book. So what’s the fascination?

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On the surface, adult coloring books may seem like one more way for modern adults to cling to their childhood. In reality, the activity is about more than whimsy. Similar to the hand-eye coordination benefits of video games, adult coloring stimulates often neglected parts of our mind.

Address The Anxiety You Might Not Know Is There

The many micro-decisions made when filling the tiny sections of each circular design encourages your subconscious to more easily address what can be called ‘free-floating’ anxiety. In other words, it gives your mind the space it needs to disengage from phones, television, chores and other daily distractions.

For most of us, these daily distractions often lead to very subtle and abstract manifestations of uneasiness, apprehension, and dread. As surprising as it may sound, coloring for adults helps to combat stress and anxiety in the short term. Short term anxiety reduction has long term benefits on our overall mental health. It makes the space for adjusting the speed of life, and for reflection and healing in more deeply rooted areas of our subconscious.

Rediscover Your Creativity

For people not accustomed to engaging the creative side of themselves, adult coloring can offer a means to feel success and fulfillment in a new way. Each filled section weaves closer toward an almost architectural process of building a more complete piece. This grants the participant a sense of completion, and offers the conscious mind an opportunity to switch off while still creating.

Coloring for the Left-Brained

…simple acts of creativity are critical for everyone to achieve balanced and gratified mental health.

The satisfaction experienced by relishing a complete artistic project isn’t something analytical personalities often have the opportunity to discover. Clear, geometric designs in shape-based coloring books allow even the most ‘Type A’ personality to express their repressed artistic side. Left-brained colorers typically still feel ‘safe’ from the uncertainty typically associated with the more creative right-brained pursuits. Similar to the universal need for exercise, simple acts of creativity are critical for everyone to achieve balanced and gratified mental health. This isn’t just reserved for the minds of artists and musicians.

An Item for Your Spiritual Toolbox

If mental and emotional health aren’t enough motivation to pick up your markers, you might also consider the benefit of coloring after devotions or while listening to faith-building materials. Not only does coloring allow the brain to step back from more stressful thoughts, it encourages your mind to digest and explore complex thought processes you may otherwise just check off your list and dismiss.

Similar to meditation, adult coloring doesn’t ‘turn off’ your brain as much as it clears mental pathways. Dwelling on scripture or your favorite hymn while coloring offers a rare opportunity to not only read or listen to something encouraging; it offers a chance to dwell on, and experience, the information you’ve just taken in.

While adult coloring books may not be your ‘thing”, it’s becoming clearer to many that the benefits to this hobby aren’t just real, they are substantial.

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