08 Jul Adult colouring books: why they’re brilliant for the brain
It’s the modern phenomenon that is as popular with stressed-out students as exhausted executives: colouring.
With beautiful new books marketed at grown-ups storming bestseller charts, colouring has become one of the trendiest ways to relax in recent months. At the moment, two out of the top four best-selling books on Amazon are adult colouring books, with another three within the top 20.
As modern life becomes increasingly fast-paced and stressful, more and more people are returning to colouring after not having picked up a crayon for decades, and fast becoming hooked.
Unlike other flow activities such as knitting, colouring requires practically no skill, making it accessible to everyone. It’s therapeutic, conjures up childhood memories and is satisfying to complete.
Colouring gives the brain something simple to focus on, doesn’t require much concentration and – in the opinion of the Time To Log Off team at least – is really good fun!
The meditative process of colouring slows our breathing and heart-rate, encourages us to focus and helps to achieve mindfulness. But just why is it so effective?
Here’s the science behind it all:
When you’re stressed-out, busy and working hard, there’s a lot of pressure on the brain. It’s using beta brainwaves, and doing so for long periods of time isn’t healthy. In order to relax properly, you need to shift your brain down a gear and switch from beta to alpha brainwaves – colouring is a proven way to do so.
Colouring books have become particularly popular with people who find it hard to relax and switch-off: altering the brainwaves facilitates deep sleep, so it’s great to do to unwind before bed.
But colouring books are fantastic for clearing the head at any time of day, even if done in just ten or 15 minute bursts. You’ll soon find you can focus for longer while doing other activities too.
A creative outlet is important when your brain moves at 100mph for most of the day, and colouring-in beautiful illustrations not only takes you on a trip down memory lane but also gives your brain a well-earned rest.
Keen to get your hands on some adult colouring books of your own? Try Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest, Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom, Richard Merritt’s Art Therapy Colouring Book and Emma Farrarons’ The Mindfulness Colouring Book.