Coloring Books and Your Mental Health

According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a mental health profession in which the process of making and creating artwork is used to “explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem.” So basically, it’s similar to good old therapy.

Yet art therapy is not only about learning and improving yourself — it’s a means of personal expression, too.

It is important to note that using a coloring book is not exactly the same as completing an art therapy session..

The Health Benefits of Adult Coloring Books

Coloring offers a slew of mental benefits. “Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring [about] more mindfulness,” says Berberian. Groundbreaking research in 2005 proved anxiety levels dropped when subjects colored mandalas, which are round frames with geometric patterns inside. Simply doodling, though, had no effect in reducing the other subjects’ stress levels.
Just like meditation, coloring also allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate free-floating anxiety. It can be particularly effective for people who aren’t comfortable with more creatively expressive forms of art, says Berberian, “My experience has been that those participants who are more guarded find a lot of tranquility in coloring an image. It feels safer and it creates containment around their process,” she adds.
How to Get Started

Want to fill in some pages? Keep in mind, if you’re dealing with significant mental or emotional issues, art therapy is going to be more effective than coloring solo. But for those who just need a hobby to help them chill out, these books could be the ticket. As Berberian puts it, “I truly believe that people should be engaging in activities that make them feel restored.”

Adults should skip the crayons and go straight for the colored pencils (precision is everything when it comes to tuning in). Crayola has a complete guide that shows how to take your tools up a notch by blending colors, shading and adding highlights and lowlights to your newfound masterpieces. Now get scribbling!

Looking for sugar skull coloring pages?

Sugar skull designs are great to color on a rainy afternoon. Their bright paint colors will brighten up any dreary afternoon, and coloring whiles away the time nicely.
The sugar skull line arts here are all pre-screened and kid-safe. Kids and adults alike will enjoy coloring these sugar skull designs!
Please click on each thumbnail image to download the pdf coloring page.