Coloring pages for mental health patients

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Page last updated: 24/09/2022

In this article, we will answer a very important and unique question, “Is coloring good for mental health? and also explore the new and exciting ways in which we

which can improve our mental health.

Is coloring good for mental health?

Coloring pages are used as a mindful activity by therapists nowadays to alleviate stress and anxiety. Therapists claim that coloring pages are like art therapy which is beneficial in helping with many types of disorders.

What are coloring pages?

Coloring pages are systematic structured designs and patterns created to draw the attention or focus or person towards it and help them keep engaged. The circular, symmetrical patterns of mandalas are known to be more popular and effective in alleviating stress and increasing concentration than the other designs of the coloring pages. 

5 best Coloring page resources for mental health patients

How do coloring pages affect mental health?

Coloring, as an activity, is always associated with children. Misconceptions such as “adults don’t engage in such childish activities” or “I am not artistic enough to be able to do these things” are prevalent amongst people. While children enjoy this fun activity and it is often considered as a method to help them discover, and explore their creativity, it is not just limited to being a creative outlet. 

Coloring is an activity that can be engaged in by anyone. A person doesn’t need to have a talent in art, be artistic to do this activity. This therapy aims to provide a creative outlet to people to grab their attention and focus so that they are not disturbed by the external disturbing stimuli in the environment or even in their minds. Coloring works as meditative art therapy as well. With the help of its characteristics of being engaging and demanding attention, it works very well at reducing stress as it works as a distraction.  

The person experiences relief by entering into a trance-like meditative state. Eventually, their stress and anxiety levels drop down and all the negativity in their minds gets cleared. It has been reiterated many times by therapists that focusing on the present helps in obtaining mindfulness. Also, it gives us a break from the technology and screen exposure tendency of aggravating tension and stress in our bodies. Also, this is affordable and can be carried with you anywhere. 

Coloring Pages and Stress Reduction

Stress reduction is one of the main benefits provided by coloring pages. It works so well on stress alleviation because according to some therapists, this activity has a calming effect on the amygdala. Amygdala is the fear-controlling center in our brain. It handles the fight or flight instinct of our body. When the fear generator of our brain is soothed it automatically reduces the fear in our body and this causes the anxiety and stress to subside in our body. Also as mentioned before, it provides a distraction to people and lets them have a break from the constant rampage of negative and demotivating thoughts. It also has a sense of nostalgia attached to it. People recall fond memories of their childhood associated with coloring and feel nostalgic and happy. This sense of nostalgic euphoria is triggered by just a simple activity that helps them feel relaxed and peaceful. 

Coloring pages for mental health patients

What are the mental health disorders positively affected by coloring?

Many different types of disorders have been benefited due to coloring. Some of them are listed below. 

Depression

People suffering from depression feel hopeless, or don’t have any will in engaging in a healthy lifestyle. They are inactive and constantly tormented by their negative thoughts and feelings. In such a scenario coloring provides a perfect distraction to avoid those thoughts and letting them be focused on something that can provide tranquility. Coloring is the easiest form of art therapy as there is hardly any need to put any systematic thoughts into it. They don’t have to expend any of their mental resources which help them greatly as depression exhausts them mentally. It provides distraction as well as calm and comfort with a touch of nostalgia.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders cause a person to have excessive worries or fears that prevent them from leading a normal life. They are constantly swamped with thoughts that induce fear and make them anxious and unstable. To break them out of this state and thoughts coloring pages prove to be a very effective tool. They provide them with an activity to concentrate on and it also helps in bringing down anxiety due to the fun received from it. A person can enter a meditative state with this method and at least for a short while forget their worries. 

OCD( Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

With OCD a person is afflicted by constant intrusive thoughts and also compulsive, repetitive behaviors. The person’s life is governed by those thoughts and behaviors. It is difficult to manage a normal life while handling those thoughts and urges. Hence people with OCD desperately need a distraction and also an outlet to relieve their stress. Coloring pages are the perfect outlet for them to express their inner turmoil through the creative form. 

Anger Issues

Sometimes anger issues stem from the unresolved inner conflict that bursts out aggressively. To contain these outbursts and to let out those conflicting inner feelings in a non-threatening manner coloring pages is the best option.

Are coloring pages the new form of art therapy?

Art therapy is defined as, “a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem ” by ‘The American Art Therapy Association’.

While not all therapists are in agreement regarding the merits and efficacy of coloring pages used as art therapy, many therapists are backing this trend and vouching for its efficacy. Though art is a much more complex process than simply coloring pages it can still be used as an affordable substitute and therapists are already utilizing this method. 

4 Common misconceptions about Coloring Pages

“Only kids can enjoy this activity”

Often adults find it embarrassing to indulge in things that might appear childish to others. But that is not the case here at all. Although children are more likely to engage in such creative forms of activities, that doesn’t mean that adults cannot engage in them too. Also, the merits of this activity have been proved numerous times so it is definitely not an activity just for kids.

“A person needs to be artistically inclined to be able to do this”

Coloring activity has nothing to do with what you end up drawing or coloring. Its focus is always on the process and the emotions it evokes within the person during that process. Whether a person is artistic or not does matter as everyone can benefit from its perks.

“Coloring pages are substitute to psychotherapy or art therapy”

While coloring pages as an activity have quite a lot of benefits and advantages it cannot work as a standalone therapy. It works as an additional supporting treatment method. But for major psychological issues, it can never be substituted for actual therapy. Therefore therapists always use coloring pages as a supporting aid to psychotherapy. Also, art therapy is much more complex and has a lot of techniques and strategies. Coloring pages is a very simple activity compared to it. 

“This activity can be self-administered and can be done without the therapist’s guidance”

Often people misconstrue that since this activity is so simple it can be done without proper guidance. But to bring out its effectiveness it is pertinent that the activity is carried properly and technically. Therapists make their clients engage in this activity for a certain reason. They are knowledgeable of the process and also aware of what their client needs to gain from the activity. Therefore they adapt and conduct the activity in a way that is conducive to the treatment of the patient’s mental health disorder. All these goals cannot be achieved by the client on their own and hence even this simple task needs to be carried out under the supervision of the therapist. 

“Coloring pages can only help with minor problems but not with the psychological issue”

Though the effectiveness of coloring pages is indeed profound on stress-related issues, it is also very helpful in alleviating the symptoms of many psychological and behavioral disorders. Symptoms of OCD, anxiety disorders, or even depression are helped greatly due to this activity. As it has a calming and rejuvenating effect on people they feel refreshed and peaceful. It can also work very well for children with ADHD, or other developmental disorders. Their hyperactivity or attention deficit can be managed by this method as this task can increase concentration and focus.

Thus, there are many misconceptions associated with coloring pages that prohibit people from enjoying its various perks. 

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In this blog, we answered if coloring is good for our mental health and learned about all the new and creative ways to improve our mental health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is coloring good for anxiety?

Coloring has an alleviating effect on anxiety as proved by recent research conducted by therapists. It has been found that coloring was more effective than other activities like reading in reducing anxiety and increasing mindfulness. 

Is coloring good for mental health?

Coloring has been known to affect the amygdala. Amygdala is responsible for generating the feeling of fear in humans. When this part of the brain is soothed and calmed it has relaxing effects on the body. The effects are similar to the ones achieved through meditation. Thus, as coloring helps in attaining mindfulness it is quite good for our mental health.    

Are our adult coloring books the same as coloring books?

No, the books for adults are designed in a specific way to appeal to the adults. Also, they are created to provide mindfulness to the person, hence their designs are different from common coloring books. These designs have intricate patterns to enhance the fine motor skills and attention span of the client. 

Why are coloring books important?

Coloring enhances focus, concentration as well as reduces stress and anxiety. Meditation is a very difficult technique for some people but even they can enjoy the same effects gained from meditation through the activity of coloring. It has been proved to be effective in improving sleep and enhancing creativity. Thus, coloring books are essential to elevating the psychological health of a person. 

Is coloring considered art?

It is not a form of art in technical terms but it gives all people a way to creatively describe themselves. Art is not limited to a particular genre and is not bound by strict techniques. As long as the person can creatively express themselves it is a valid form of art. 

References

Can coloring improve your mental health? Right as Rain by UW Medicine. (2021, February 26). Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://rightasrain.uwmedicine.org/life/leisure/coloring-for-adults. 

Bonfil, A. (2014, December 3). Improve relationships by identifying cognitive distortions. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Los Angeles. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://cogbtherapy.com/cbt-blog/cognitive-distortions-in-relationships. 

Mental health benefits of adult coloring. 24. (2017, October 26). Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://ercare24.com/adult-coloring/#iLightbox[gallery12905]/0. 

Amazing benefits of coloring for adults. ColorIt. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://www.colorit.com/blogs/news/85320388-amazing-benefits-of-coloring-for-adults.