A look at the science behind coloring
Adult coloring books have exploded in popularity. As of this writing, four of Amazon-dot-com’s top 20 Bestsellers are adult coloring books, with book sales in the millions, and the trend seems to have no end in sight. One publisher says he’s “never seen a phenomenon like it.”
However, coloring is not just a commercial fad with tons of hype; there is real science behind its popularity and benefits. According to many doctors, psychologists and scientific researchers, coloring appears to relieve stress and its related disorders. In effect, it helps us achieve balanced mental, emotional and physical health.
Wow, that is a pretty big task, you might (correctly) be saying. So, let’s examine this claim. Deciphering exactly why and how coloring brings about such beneficial affects seems to center on the combination of two essential factors: 1) the Act of Coloring itself, and 2) the Exposure to Color as therapy.
The Act of Coloring
The majority of folks today lead demanding, exhausting, stressful lives that tax our mental, emotional and physical state on a daily basis. The Act of Coloring counteracts all that. It requires us to focus and be quiet and just enjoy. It recalls a simpler time in our lives, and provides a warm and fuzzy escape from the pressures of the here-and-now.
Studies show that about 15-20 minutes into this soothing, relaxed, feel-good state, our brain wave activity slows and we enter an altered a state of consciousness, free of tension, anxiety and stress. This phase is similar to that obtained through deep meditation or yoga … even some pharmaceutical meds. (The intricate drawings offered on this site were created while the artist was in this altered state.)
Through the effortless, pleasurable diversion of coloring, we are now naturally able to tap into various areas of both brain hemispheres, reaching that magic place where the conscious mind connects with the subconscious. The more often we enter this zone, the more accessible are the characteristics commonly found in this altered states. The overall result is a calmer, healthier, happier individual using a totally satisfying alternative to pills, meditation, yoga or acupuncture.
Additional benefits sometimes attributed to coloring include improved academic performance, better hand-eye coordination and motor skills, a more positive outlook on life, and more innovative performance in the workplace. Across the board, colorists tend to summarize their coloring experience as “Goodbye stress, anxiety and depression!”
Exposure to Color (Chromotherapy)
The second factor in explaining the efficacy of coloring is the ancient practice of color therapy, commonly called chromotherapy, which is also gaining momentum as valid science.
There is evidence of color being used for healing and therapy throughout ancient Egypt, Greece, China and India. Today, researchers are able to study how color not only affects psychological behavior, but also physiological systems of the body.
Chromotherapy is based on the knowledge that everything that exists is made up of electromagnetic energy vibrating at different frequencies. These energies correspond to light, sound and color, all of which are frequency wavelengths that attract identical and harmonizing wavelengths.
According to the National Library of Medicine, colors attract or activate certain biochemical and hormonal processes in the human body. In other words, color serves as both stimulant or sedative necessary to balancing the entire body and its organs.
Light and music act in a similar manner, and when used appropriately in combination with color, they can enhance the desired properties even further. For this reason, meditative music designed to slow brainwaves and synchronize the left and right brain hemispheres is recommended during coloring.
According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology nutritionist Richard J. Wurtman, research has shown that individual colors influence respiration rates, blood pressure, biorhythms and brain activity. Due to these findings, color is used as a treatment for a wide-range of illness and disease, including autism, epilepsy, insomnia, attention deficit disorder, depression, strokes and much more.
For instance, blue light is currently in neonatal units to treat jaundice. Approximately 30,000 premature babies each year in the U.S. are treated with baths of blue light, thereby avoiding dangerous blood transfusions. Another common example: ultraviolet light is used as the standard treatment for psoriasis.
Combining the Act of Coloring with Chromotherapy
The therapeutic colors and their intensity needed for balance by an individual are believe to be instinctively selected during the coloring process. The benefits of the colors are then activated through their focus and application.
The combination of focus and color is a winning diversion, and its efficacy is evident through the rising number of coloring enthusiasts.
So regardless of age, gender or lifestyle, coloring is an ideal.
Comments are closed