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What started as a silly notion has now grown into a full fledged craze that has thousands of adults reliving a part of their childhood. The craze is coloring, but rather than picking up a copy of the newest Barbie or Hot Wheels children’s coloring book, we seem to have created an entire industry around Adult Coloring Books.

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Amazon alone has hundreds of adult-geared uncolored image books available for sale, ranging in price from a few dollars to several hundred, with themes as specific as Tibetan Art or I Love Lucy.

Looking past our tendency to jump on the bandwagon of anything that social media randomly makes popular (see 25 Trends That People Will Think Are Stupid In 20 Years), can we find any benefit to rekindling this part of our childhood?

According to Marygrace Berberian, a certified art therapist and the Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the Graduate Art Therapy Program at NYU, coloring may not be fully classifiable as a form of art therapy, but it does hold great potential to be beneficial. She told CNN, “Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring [about] more mindfulness.”

Anxiety alone is something that seems to impact so many of us worldwide, myself included, so the idea that something as simple as coloring could help to combat it certainly is interesting.

A study conducted in 2005 had 84 undergraduate students randomly assigned to color in a mandala, a plaid form, or a blank piece of paper. The results concluded that those who were assigned to color in either the mandala or plaid form experienced a drop in anxiety, while those given a blank piece of paper did not — suggesting that coloring in a reasonably complex pattern may induce a meditative state and therefore help to combat anxiety.

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While the conclusion may seem a little farfetched, and understandably so, it certainly is nice to hear that there may be a therapeutical benefit to one of the latest crazes.

One thing I personally see potential value in is the fact that coloring, as an activity, engages a couple of senses (touch and sight) quite extensively, making it a potential tool for developing mindfulness. When we engage our senses in this way, we are more likely to be present in the moment. My own personal shift away from incessant multitasking into a presence-focused mentality has really helped me to de-stress and, believe it or not, become even more productive.

In my opinion, the trickiest part to shifting away from multitasking is overcoming the scattered and rampant thoughts of our mind, something that coloring could be quite useful in helping to quiet.

I personally have yet to join the adult coloring bandwagoners, but I did spend some time over the holidays being creative on a Buddha Board — a water triggered coloring device that only lasts for a very brief period of time before erasing itself — and found it to be quite therapeutic.

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What are your thoughts on the whole adult coloring craze? If you are a part of it, let us know what you do and do not enjoy about it in the comment section!

SOURCES

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/06/health/adult-coloring-books-popularity-mental-health/index.html

http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/why-adults-are-buying-coloring-books-for-themselves

http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ688443.pdf


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