The new craze among young people is to organize coloring parties that will have them sipping wine and talking over a coloring book, which they fill out together. This new trend comes from the fact that coloring as an activity is one of the most effective stress-reducing activities that one can engage in. The effects are so profound that even Carl Jung knew about them 100 years ago and gladly prescribed it to his psychiatric patients as a method of calming their nerves.
With the advent of the digital coloring games, these effects have only become more profound. And if you wonder why Jung used this as medicine, here are some of the reasons that he (and psychologists later) realized.
They train your focus
When coloring, you know how important it is to stay within the lines. Make one mistake, and you can ruin the overall look of the drawing once colored. So, while doing it, you have to be really focused. Staying focused on coloring (and not crossing the line) for an hour every day (or every other day) is for your brain what going to the gym is for the muscles. It keeps the brain fit and increases your brain-stamina, which is especially important for kids.
They reduce overall stress
Coloring has been proven to help relax the amygdala, the region in the brain responsible for triggering your “fight or flight” mechanism and, at the same time, preparing the body for the stressful situation. In today’s world, it is not rare to see anxiety attacks in people who are not in an immediate life-threatening situation, all because we lead complex and stressful lives. The amygdala realizes all the stress as a constant danger and does not rest.
Spending some time coloring relaxes the amygdala. As it rests more often, it will slowly become retrained to respond less dramatically to everyday stress, making you much more stress-resistant. This leads to a calmer life, in general, and better physical health.
They help when you’re bored
Ever felt like everything that you have done before for fun just doesn’t cut it anymore. After a long time, some things and activities can become boring. Then it’s time to find new activities and coloring is a great way to prevent boredom. It is always a fun activity as it activates both sides of the brain and engaging in both analytical and creative processes is almost exclusively fun.
You can go for whatever color you like and the choices are infinite, which means that coloring will hardly become boring, as there is always something new to try out.
They bring you back to your childhood
One of the reasons why coloring was chosen by Jung and other psychologists later as a stress-fighting remedy is the fact that it brings you back to simpler times when you were just a kid. Focusing on that very moment and the coloring itself is extremely childlike, but sometimes, our brain needs that to step away from the complexity of everyday lives and return to a simpler way of thinking. Also, childlike thinking can help you solve some problems that you thought were too complex, just by looking at them from another angle.
They increase your productivity
Every day, you have a lot of things on your to-do list. Some of those tasks are not even recent – the lasting projects can make you lose any sense of achievement and celebrate the little victories. With a coloring game, you get a task that does not take long to accomplish and by completing it, your brain will gain a cause to celebrate, even if for a moment.
That “mini-celebration” will then give you the motivation to go on and do more (since you are in the accomplishing mood) and will make all the other goals seem more achievable – increasing the effort that you put in and, in turn, your productivity. Once you feel more productive, real productivity will soon follow.
If you are not a fan of the mess that the coloring books bring along and you prefer digital technologies, then by all means go for the coloring games or digital coloring books. They will provide the same benefits, while keeping away the squalor of coloring pencils. Enjoy your daily relaxing therapy anywhere, while on your phone or tablet.