Sitting a child down with a coloring book can often help calm and focus them — but did you know it could do the same for grown-ups?
CKNW’s Claire Allen investigates the health benefits of the adult colouring book craze…
Colouring is just for kids… right?
Now adults are using colouring books to relax and unwind…
Colouring has made a comeback and adult colouring books are dominating the shelves of the book shops.
Last year, the popularity of adult colouring books grew substantially. Over Christmas, nine of the 20 most popular books on Amazon were adult colouring books.
So why have these books suddenly become so popular?
Colouring offers many health benefits like exercising your fine motor skills and training your brain to focus.
In fact doctors have known about these benefits since the early 1900’s.
Colouring to calmness
Psychiatrist Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, prescribed colouring to his patients to calm and centre their minds.
Doctors today continue to follow Jung’s lead and still recommend the activity to combat anxiety.
The theory goes that because it is a centering activity, it affects the amygdala.
That’s the part of the brain involved with our fear response.
By giving it a break, colouring allows us to slow down and relax a little.
Drawing vs dementia
Aside from helping people cope with anxiety, adult colouring books are also brightening lives for people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Beverly Kort is a registered psychologist and she points out that adult colouring books work to help families dealing with the neurological condition connect.
“What I’ve found, having a parent with dementia, that bringing in these adult colouring books gives us an activity that doesn’t feel childish. A lot of people have trouble knowing what to do when a grand parent or parent has dementia, and this is a very helpful kind of thing because it’s adult, and it’s something you can share together, and it can be a way to have small conversations and just have an activity.”
So you may have noticed that adult colouring books are popping up everywhere.
The trend inspired local artists Carrie Wong and Witek Radomski to create Legendary Landscapes, a colouring book featuring the many varied and impressive landscapes of Canada.
“I read about it online. I went to a bookstore and picked up my first colouring book – sceret garden. At first I wasnt sure what to think because people were saying that colouring is relaxing and therapeutic… and I wasn’t sure if I was sold on it so i decided to try it myself. And afterwards I was like, wow this thing is really cool! And we’re artists so why dont we put out a colouring book? But not any colouring book… but a colouring book with landscapes and features Vancouver and BC landscapes”
The 80-page colouring book includes a variety of local imagery, including Lynn Headwaters in North Vancouver, a Stanley Park totem pole, an alley in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and a B.C. ferry.
Carrie Wong and her partner Witek Radomski plan to follow up Legendary Worlds with a sequel entitled Legendary Worlds.
So, if you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, maybe pick up a colouring book. It really lets you be a kids again and channel a worry free lifestyle.
Plus, no need to stay within the lines.