8 Quick Examples of Coloring Pages for Mental Health Improvement
In recent years, coloring has been rediscovered as a therapeutic relaxation technique that can reduce anxiety, create focus, and promote mindfulness. The simple childhood activity has become a valuable tool for mental health. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the notable benefits of coloring pages for mental health, the research behind them, tips for getting started, and how to implement coloring into treatment plans.
By the end, you’ll see why providing coloring pages for mental health can be an impactful yet simple way to improve mental health.
The Science Behind Coloring Pages for Mental Health
The resurgence in adult coloring began with the release of Johanna Basford’s book Secret Garden in 2013 which sold over 10 million copies. For centuries, mandalas were used as meditation tools to bring focus and relieve stress. Psychologist Carl Jung pioneered their therapeutic use. He recommended coloring mandalas to help patients relax and reach a meditative state.
Today, researchers have found scientific evidence confirming the many mental health benefits of coloring including:
- Reduced anxiety and stress hormones
- Increased focus and attention to detail
- Engagement of the parasympathetic nervous system to bring calm
- Improved mood and emotional regulation
- Feelings of mindfulness similar to meditation
- Activation of different areas of the brain responsible for decision-making, memory, and sensory perception
- The overall sense of well-being from having a creative outlet for self-expression
Adult coloring prompts a state similar to mindfulness meditation by bringing absorbing focus to a simple, repetitive activity. This mindful engagement helps refocus thoughts, relieve anxiety, and induce a relaxed state. The choice involved in coloring also helps build self-confidence.
Tips for Reaping the Coloring Pages for Mental Health Benefits
It’s easy to add coloring to your life or mental health treatment plans. Here are tips to make coloring effective:
- Establish a routine where you dedicate 30-45 minutes to coloring, aiming for 2-3 sessions each week. Consistency plays a pivotal role in achieving positive outcomes.
- Choose intricate patterns or mandalas rather than broad empty spaces.
- Opt for coloring books made specifically for adults. These have more complexity.
- Pick colors intuitively rather than trying to match them exactly.
- Focus on the sensory experience – the color, patterns, smells, textures, and sounds.
- Put phones and other distractions away so you can fully engage.
- Display finished pages to remind yourself of accomplishments.
- Join a coloring group or exchange pages with others.
Best Practices for Using Coloring Pages for Mental Health as Therapy
For therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals, incorporating coloring into treatment plans is easy and impactful. Here are best practices for using coloring pages and books for therapy:
- Have a variety of coloring books and pages on hand so clients can choose themes and patterns they resonate with. Include mandalas, animals, nature, abstract designs, etc.
- Introduce coloring early on as a technique for anxiety reduction that clients can add to their toolbox and use outside of sessions.
- Demonstrate mindful coloring during sessions and have clients color while discussing thoughts and emotions.
- Occasionally do silent mutual coloring for 10-15 minutes to change the dynamic and provide a calm shared activity.
- Gift clients coloring books or printed pages between sessions for positive reinforcement.
- Suggest combining coloring with meditation or soothing music.
- Advise clients to display finished pages as motivating reminders of progress.
For residential treatment facilities, providing coloring materials in communal spaces helps engage patients and cultivate relaxation. The simple act of coloring side-by-side also builds rapport between patients and staff.
Examples of Impactful Coloring Pages for Mental Health Improvement
There are so many excellent coloring books and printable pages out there. Here are some specific options that are top-rated for mental health:
- Just Add Color: Midnight Garden – Intricately detailed floral and botanical designs.
- Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation – Variety of calming patterns with perforated pages.
- The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy – Geometric and nature themes from an art therapist.
- Mandala Coloring Book: 100+ Coloring Pages – Beautiful repeating circular mandala patterns.
- Mindful Mandala Coloring Book – Single-sided printed mandalas specifically for mindfulness.
- Creative Haven Mandalas Coloring Book – Vividly symmetrical mandalas.
- Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns – Range of detailed motifs and images.
- Dover Yoga and Meditation Coloring Book – Yoga poses, mandalas, and positive quotes.
The mental health benefits of incorporating coloring as a therapeutic technique are clear. With reduced anxiety, improved mood and focus, and feelings of accomplishment, coloring delivers lasting wellness rewards. Keep these tips, practices, and book recommendations in mind to easily add impactful coloring activities into your own health journey or your client’s treatment plans.
FAQS About Coloring Pages for Mental Health:
Here are answers to some common questions about the benefits of coloring pages for mental health:
Q: What mental health issues can coloring help with?
Answer: Coloring has been found effective for reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, OCD, PTSD, dementia, and other conditions. The relaxing, mindful activity is calming for most mental health issues.
Q: Is coloring more effective than meditation or mindfulness?
Answer: Research found coloring produces a meditative state similar to those practices. It can be used alongside meditation and mindfulness as an additional technique. Combining practices may be more effective.
Q: Can coloring become addictive?
Answer: While coloring itself is not addictive, some find it so relaxing they don’t want to stop. Moderation is key. Limit coloring sessions to 30-45 minutes maximum per day.
Q: Are mandalas required or can you use any coloring pages?
Answer: Any coloring pages and books can provide benefits. However, research shows mandalas are especially effective for achieving a meditative state through coloring.
Q: What age group benefits most from coloring therapy?
Answer: Studies show coloring benefits adults more than children, as adults have greater focus. However, coloring can help reduce anxiety and improve mood in children too.
Coloring Pages for Mental Health Conclusion:
Coloring as a relaxing activity and therapeutic technique has surged in popularity due to its many proven mental health benefits. The research is clear that taking time to mindfully color detailed patterns lowers stress, improves mood, increases focus, and induces an almost meditative state. Adding coloring worksheets and books to treatment programs or personal mental health tools is a simple yet hugely impactful practice. With more companies and mental health professionals recognizing the benefits of coloring, its use will continue growing. So whether you color personally or provide pages to clients and patients, take advantage of this accessible and artistic path to better mental well-being.
Coloring Pages for Mental Health Sources: