Adult Coloring for Healing from Burnout and Stress Relief

By Shaan Khan

Adult life can be unforgiving on our mental health; neglecting parts of our bodies & brains and get told to depend on drugs to ignore the pains. It’s an unsustainable cycle that replaces one issue with another, such as pharmaceutical side effects.

Holistic health approaches are organically incorporated into our lifestyles to counteract the negative parts of unnatural adult life. Coloring is an approach that reconnects us with our inner child—a balancing effect that injects some childhood purity back into us.

The fundamental goal of adult coloring is to let go of the negative build-up in our minds—this is achieved in a variety of ways.

Brain Science

Adult coloring is often described as a fine motor movement activity. Such activities are rarely found in modern lifestyles; they aim to engage both sides of our brain in unison, while other activities tend to isolate the use of one side.

The left side of the brain aids us with logical thinking, such as staying within the lines of colouring objects. The right side of the brain is where we draw our creativity from—like picking the colors to fill in a drawing.

Work and leisure often cause a side of our brains to be neglected. Over time, our decision-making is hampered and less valued for our limited brain power. Fine motor movement activities such as adult coloring are training you to engage with all the cogs of intelligence available to you and not limit your brain’s potential.

Two other key areas in your brain targeted by adult coloring are the centre of the brain, known as ‘The amygdala’, and the frontal lobe:

  • Amygdala – The centre of the brain is where fear is formed, and adult coloring can relax the area by reducing a stress hormone known as the cortisol output and increasing the production of positive hormones such as oxytocin & dopamine.
  • Frontal Lobe – Adult coloring opens the frontal lobe that generates focus and trains you to control your organising and problem-solving skills. This is achieved by putting everything else aside and to live in the moment—a valuable tool to increase mental health by engaging with the frontal lobe.

 The overall reduction of stress through engaging with these parts of the brain can alleviate negative effects on the body by decreasing heart rate and blood pressure.

Mental Strengthening & Psychological Benefits

The hypnotic nature of adult coloring, where we get lost in repetition or feel the groove as some say, allows us to enter a meditative and mindful state. We can exercise our thoughts with the power of a crayon, pencil or brush—alleviating a clogged mind full of overwhelming thoughts that need to be rinsed out onto a piece of paper through creativity.

Unlike mindlessly consuming content on TV, you have full control of the adult coloring activity from start to finish. The activity teaches you discipline, dedication, focus and retention to complete your creations.

You begin to better appreciate aspects of life. For instance, your deep focused attention on drawing & coloring your surroundings will make you more mindful of what’s around you and the feelings & sensations they evoke. The same can be applied to coloring a pre-drawn farm; you begin to reflect on farms in general and take an interest in them.

There are levels to adult coloring, making it a goals-orientated task. You can try mastering new tools or objects/sceneries to draw/color. Your journey into adult coloring offers satisfying progression where you can build up your technical and social skills by sharing your work with others or competing against people in challenges such as timed coloring races.

Improved sleep is another benefit if you engage in adult coloring at night because paper does not emit harsh light like from electronic devices that disrupt your melatonin production which helps you fall asleep. Adult coloring is also a great distraction from being glued to our phones and social media that can overload you with social pressures & expectations just before you go to bed.

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