I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point, in the last few years, adult coloring books went from being a remedial activity for children to being an "effective therapy" for adults. And not just any adults—adults with diseases and illnesses, such as tremors and epilepsy. In addition, regularly engaging in coloring can also help exercise the mind and potentially prevent the development of dementia. These benefits make adult coloring books a viable treatment option for certain illnesses. Who knew?!
The History of Adult Coloring Books as Therapy
This recent trend of using adult coloring books as therapy can be traced back to 2012, when an Australian woman named Kylie Sturgess started a podcast called Token Skeptic. One of her episodes was about alternative therapies during which she interviewed an art therapist who talked about how coloring therapy engages dementia and Alzheimer's patient’s attention. It provides high levels of pleasure for them, improves social behavior, and increases their self-esteem. Patients that were studied during coloring therapy sessions displayed marked improvement in neuropsychiatric symptoms. Due to these positive results, it was determined that dementia and Alzheimer’s patients be given coloring pages to enhance their quality of life. From there, the popularity of adult coloring books as a form of therapy exploded.
The Science Behind the Therapy
So, what is the science behind this so-called "effective therapy?" Well, according to some experts, the simple act of coloring can help to calm the sympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for our "fight or flight" response—you know, that feeling you get when you're about to give a presentation or take a test. When we're in this state, our heart rate increases, and we start to sweat. However, by focusing on something else—like coloring—we can help to lower our heart rate and return to a more relaxed state.
In addition, some experts believe that regularly engaging in activities like coloring can help to delay or prevent the onset of dementia by keeping our minds active and engaged. Studies have shown that people who engage in activities like puzzles and crosswords have a reduced risk of developing dementia.
But what about dementia?
Can adult coloring books help to stave off this degenerative disease? There is some evidence to suggest that they can. One study found that regularly engaging in activities that exercise the mind, such as coloring, could potentially prevent the development of dementia. While there's no guarantee that coloring will prevent dementia, it may help to exercise your mind and potentially stave off the development of the disease. A study conducted by Deutsche Alzheimer Gesellschaft found that patients with dementia who engaged in regular art therapy had significantly less decline in their mental function than those who didn't participate in any sort of therapeutic activity. While more research is needed to confirm these findings, it's certainly worth giving adult coloring books a try if you're looking for a way to boost your cognitive function.
Coloring Can Help Ease Tremors and Epilepsy Symptoms
If you have tremors or epilepsy, engaging in coloring activities can help lessen your symptoms. The repetitive nature of coloring concentrates your mind and helps to ease the involuntary muscle movements that are associated with tremors. The theory is that the act of coloring requires the use of small muscles in the hand, which can help to lessen the severity of tremors. While there is some evidence to support this claim, it should be noted that no large-scale studies have been conducted to confirm its efficacy. In other words, don’t ditch your medication just yet!
Epilepsy? We’ve Got You Covered!
There is also anecdotal evidence that the rhythmic motions involved in adult coloring books may help to lessen the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures. One theory is that the repetitive nature of coloring calms the mind and helps to prevent overstimulation, which can trigger a seizure. Once again, however, no large-scale studies have been conducted to confirm these claims. So, if you or a loved one is suffering from epilepsy, please consult with a medical professional before reaching for the nearest Adult Coloring Book.
Coloring Can Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Whether you're dealing with chronic stress or anxiety or simply feeling overwhelmed by a particularly challenging week, coloring can be a great way to take some time out for yourself and relax. Focusing on filling in the lines of a coloring page can help to clear your mind and allow you to focus on the present moment, which can be an extremely effective way to combat stress and anxiety. And unlike some other relaxation techniques, such as meditation, coloring is an activity that almost anyone can do without any prior experience or training.
So, there you have it – adult coloring books are the latest “cure-all” sweeping the nation! Or maybe not… While there is some evidence to support the claims made about adult coloring books, it should be noted that most of this evidence is anecdotal or based on small-scale studies.
But next time you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, consider reaching for a coloring book instead of a glass of wine, or your phone or television remote—you may be surprised by how beneficial it can be!
Tap below to discover additional benefits of Adult Coloring Books! And check out this incredible Adult Coloring Book selection!