Coloring for Health
Too often when we speak of health, we tend to focus on bodily health, on keeping or restoring health to cells, tissues, organs and organ systems. We fixate on food and exercise, drugs and supplements, on medical treatments and physical symptoms, forgetting that we human beings are more than just our physical bodies. We are minds, memories, and emotions as well.
Health and well-being, then, is a whole lot more than absence of physiological ailments, but a presence of vibrance, joy, peace, and contentment in our innermost selves. We eat and exercise to keep healthy, but we need other activities to nourish the other aspects of ourselves.
It is exactly this other type of nourishment that coloring provides. Coloring a page not only takes us back to our childhood and all the whimsy and fun that we associate with that phase of our lives, but has been found to provide a lot of other benefits.
Relaxes and Soothes
Coloring has been proven to decrease anxiety levels in adults. Because when we’re making strokes on that page, we are compelled to set aside all concerns for a while. It draws attention away from the hustle and bustle, the nitty-gritty of all our worries, hang-ups, and even illnesses and physical pain, and it draws us our focus onto the picture and coloring implement in front of us.
Even those who suffer physically have experienced the profound benefits of coloring, such as J.H. Johnson of The Lupus Liar. Coloring has led her to love the life that she has as one who suffers from lupus. She herself has come up with a wonderful coloring book that aims to help others experience the same love for their own lives.
When we’re working out or attending a spinning or yoga class, our instructors encourage and train us to listen to our bodies, to build awareness of pain and pleasure signals, to be mindful of form and alignment so as to avoid injury. When we bring this awareness when we’re flexing our non-physical muscles, we learn to listen to our feelings and thoughts, which in the end can only help us build the strength and agility within. In other words, coloring when done mindfully can be in itself a form of meditation, and brings about the same benefits.
Moreover, the very simplicity of the act of coloring creates an inner silence that allows us to listen to our inner voices better. And in the end, whatever we come up with becomes an expression of who we are at the moment, a kind of nonverbal journal, a snapshot of our mental landscapes, preserved for further introspection.
Coloring gets us in touch with ourselves. We become aware of the colors that we are drawn to. We get reach into the parts of us that derive pleasure from seeing beauty and creating it. We get to watch in wonder how the repeated strokes and lines we create come together and become something pretty.
The act of adding color to a space that has none awakens the artist within and jumpstarts the creativity that may have lain dormant beneath the tasks and chores that we heap upon ourselves everyday. It brings out our playfulness, which is a key ingredient in all creative pursuits.
Ready to Try it Out?
There are a lot of different coloring books out there, many of which are especially designed for adults. Whatever your other hobbies or interests are, be it Cats, Van Gogh, Taylor Swift, Dr. Who, or Classic Mandalas, chances are there are already coloring books that revolve around them.