Adult coloring books may still be a new trend, but for good reason.
Coloring books work like other mindfulness techniques such as yoga and meditation, says Craig Sawchuk, a clinical psychologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Such approaches work “almost like a volume knob to turn down the sympathetic nervous system, the stress response.” Coloring can help slow down heart rate and respiration, loosen muscles and stimulate the brain, he says.
Coloring has a “grounding effect” he says, a benefit that can be amplified with deliberate focus on the process — “the gentle pressing of the crayon or pencil on the page, the texture of the paper across your hand, and the soft sounds of the coloring instrument moving back and forth in a rhythmic fashion,” he says.
They are an excellent way to decompress and focus on something other than your worries or stressors. You are completely in the moment when you’re coloring in those intricate little patterns.
I recently sat next to a CEO of a large company on a flight — about twenty minutes in she reached into her carry-on and pulled out a coloring book and markers. By the time the plane reached San Diego she was completely relaxed and told me she keeps them in her desk drawer, too.
Don’t believe me? Check out the science behind coloring… you’ll be amazed at the benefits!