The rise of adult colouring books, also known as mindfulness colouring books, has been so popular in the past years that it has actually created a colouring pencil shortage. Faber-Castelo, the world’s largest pencil manufacturer, has seen a ‘double digit’ increase in demand. They believe that the surge in sales is due to these books.
So, why exactly are they popular? We all coloured as kids, and sure it was fun, but I’m a grown up now (I think) so why should I spend my time trying to stay between the lines?
Colouring has been prescribed in therapy for hundreds of years. In fact, the famed psychologist Carl Jung was on to something when he started his psychiatry patients on the colouring-in. He would give his clients mandalas to color as part of their therapy, and you can still purchase mandala coloring books today.
Coloring allows the fear center of your brain to relax, thereby making you relax. Not only during colouring-in time but it has been proven that giving your amygdala periodic rests actually reduces stress overall. Coloring is a meditative, free-time activity you can schedule, making it perfect for retraining your amygdala to respond less harshly to stress.
Apart from busting stress it also aides our ability to focus. An activity, like staying inside the lines requires focus but is stress free, the perfect combination to help “open up the frontal lobe of the brain”, says clinical counsellor Leslie Marshall. In this increasingly demanding world of ours it’s important to learn to disconnect from all our worries and be able to focus on the task at hand.
Our fine motor skills and vision become one amazing team, turns out, can actually help combat the onset of dementia when we’re old. Colouring requires the two hemispheres of the brain to work together, thereby improving the inner workings of our cerebral cortex. Psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala says that this is down to the fact the “action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching color“.
So, release the inner child within you, grab a colouring book and some pencils and free your mind.