Colouring Books: What Do They Teach Us?

colouring books

image credit @Watkins Publishing

Naomi Webb on the therapeutic benefits of colouring books.

Recently, the craze for colouring books has taken the world by storm. No longer the sole domain of school-age children, colouring books have made their way to the shelves and have been met with fervour from adult colourers. In fact, in February 2016, adult colouring books made up five out of ten books on Amazon’s bestseller list.

But why? Well, Debra Dettone (a 52-year-old American teacher) told the Guardian that she’s found that completing colouring books, in combination with regular walking, has lowered her blood pressure significantly. She finds that filling in colouring books help her to ‘unwind at night’ and that it relaxes her enough to fall asleep — a stark contrast to the anxiety she was experiencing about her job prior to spending time colouring.

This therapeutic benefit is something that many colourers report, explaining that the act of colouring in helps them to temporarily put their worries and stresses to one side, practising a fun and meditative pastime that they enjoyed as children. It’s undoubtedly an exercise in being mindful and taking some time out for self-care and relaxation, which has a great deal of value at a time when 9.9 million working days a year are lost due to work related stress, depression or anxiety.

Therapists have also suggested that colouring is also very useful for treating depression, and to assist people who are struggling with self-harm. Drena Fagen, an art therapist, (again, talking to the Guardian) believes that, while colouring itself is not therapy (though it is therapeutic), it’s worth encouraging people to pursue if it enables them to discover something about themselves, or allows them an opportunity to sit within their own thoughts.

However, not only do colouring books bring about a therapeutic benefit, but they also do some good on ‘physical’ level too. It’s well know that colouring is a highly educational exercise for children in the early years of their development as it strengthens their hand and eye coordination, developing their fine motor skills and ability to grip, manipulate and utilise the muscles in fingers, wrists and hands.

However, this isn’t just a benefit enjoyed by children. Adult colouring is also a good hobby for adults with delayed motor skills, or problems with fine motor coordination, such as those who struggle with dyspraxia. The Washington Post also made mention of the fact that colouring books have boosted one woman’s confidence in her fine motor skills after colouring in helped to improve the strength in an arm that was weakened by a tremor.

So, are you convinced by what colouring books can teach us? If so, you’ll need to invest in a colouring book or two, and don’t forget a set of good quality colouring pencils (available from a retailer such as WNW) while you’re at it.

Naomi Webb is a freelance writer specialising in family lifestyle content, providing good health and fitness and travel tips for a wide range of audiences.


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