January 24, 2017

Adults Turn to Coloring Books for Relaxation and More

6 Reasons You Should Color

by Rob Fischer

In 2013, Johanna Basford of Scotland struggled to find a publisher who would pick up her coloring book for adults called Secret Garden. When she finally landed a publisher, they printed just 16,000 copies. Today, Basford’s adult coloring books hold two of the top selling spots on Amazon.com. Her Secret Garden has sold over 6 million copies![1]

6 reasons you should color v2Why this sudden craze of adults wanting to color? Psychologists and others who are trying to understand this phenomenon have come up with several compelling reasons for coloring—as an adult.

Let’s investigate some of the motivations and benefits behind the adult coloring rage.

1. Coloring provides creative expression.

Somewhere along the line of our development, we’ve all had opportunity to gauge the level of our artistic abilities. Also, while those abilities may lie in one area of expression such as cooking, woodworking, jewelry making, or pottery, they may be nearly absent when it comes to drawing.

Valentina Harper, in her adult coloring book, Creative Coloring Flowers, explains: “I made this book so that you can use your imagination to fill it with all the vibrant tones of the rainbow! Using whatever medium you like—from markers to watercolors to colored pencils to gel pens to crayons—you can take these delightful drawings into a new world of color.”

Clearly, selecting a medium, colors, patterns, etc. are all creative functions. We were born to be creative and imaginative, but as soon as we entered school, they drilled us to conform. At the age of five a child is still using 80 percent of their potential. But by age 12, creative function has dropped to about 2 percent and hovers there throughout our adult lives.[2]

Coloring offers nearly any adult the opportunity for creative expression.

2. Coloring is relaxing.

I have to admit, when my wife recently requested a coloring book for her birthday, I was a bit taken aback. Since then she takes time to color each week. I asked her why she enjoys it so much and without any forethought she responded, “It’s so relaxing.”

Apparently, countless other adults agree with her. Our lives have become so stressful, hectic and noisy. Coloring offers people a chance to withdraw from all that in a wholesome and constructive way and simply relax.

Many of the coloring options feature a wide spectrum of repetitive designs. Once one has chosen a color within a particular design, the tactile motion of stroking in the color with a physical medium, staying in the lines, and creating something truly beautiful is very relaxing.

unique coloring book page for adults - flower paisley design3. Coloring helps one focus.

Coloring has been compared with meditation and other cognitive skills geared toward helping us concentrate. Neurologist Stan Rodski comments, “Like meditation, coloring allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus on the moment.”[3]Graduate students at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass, have discovered that coloring during a lecture actually helps them concentrate better on what’s being said. The mindless, repetitive act of coloring helps them focus on the moment.[4]

4. Coloring offers easy access to anyone.

Filling in a coloring book requires very little financial outlay and no training. Nearly anyone can pick up a book, find their favorite medium and start coloring. How easy is that?

If you haven’t tried coloring and would like to start, download the coloring book image to the right by clicking HERE. (Available to Home Cures That Work Community Members only.)

5. Coloring is therapeutic. 

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Rita Hayworth: Creative Arts and Imagination Through The End

Rita Hayworth is remembered for who was onscreen – laughing, dancing, tantalizing, tossing red hair and the siren of the ages. However, Alzheimer’s disease turned actress Rita Hayworth anxious, aggressive, and confused robbing this ravishing woman of her mind and eventually, her life.

Hayworth suffered from the anxiety, aggression and agitation common to Alzheimer’s, but as the disease progressed she found something that soothed her mood and gave her a focus — painting, a hobby she took up late, and with gusto.

As her mind disintegrated, she worked away at an easel in her apartment, producing beautiful, detailed likenesses of flowers. It brought her peace of mind and helped her to relax.

International Alzheimer’s experts agree that creative activities engage areas of the brain that are not damaged by the disease and reawaken a sense of personality, identity and dignity. Through the expression of art, many will find a different perception and understanding of Alzheimer’s.

Famous painter Norman Rockwell also suffered from Alzheimer’s. It’s been said that Rockwell’s paintings help jog the memory and play a part in memory activities, allowing patients to recall emotional memories. His late paintings are therapeutic for the elderly and dementia sufferers.

Rita Hayworth found refuge in painting as an individual as a form of Alzheimer’s disease treatment. I Remember Better When I Paint is a documentary film about the positive impact of art and other creative therapies on people with Alzheimer’s disease from Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Hayworth’s daughter, who is now president of Alzheimer’s Disease International.

“I Remember Better When I Paint is a 2009 feature length international documentary film about the positive impact of art and other creative therapies in people with Alzheimer’s disease, such as Rita Hayworth, and how these approaches can change the way the disease is viewed by society. The film examines the way creative arts bypass the limitations of dementia disorders such as Alzheimer’s and shows how patients’ still-vibrant imaginations are strengthened through therapeutic art.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Remember_Better_When_I_Paint)

People still have imagination intact all the way to the very, very end of their progressive disease.”
~ Judy Holstein, Director of CJE SeniorLife in Chicago

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