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Coloring inside the lines: What you should know about adult coloring books

Coloring books aren’t just for kids anymore. Move aside, Strawberry Shortcake and Thomas the Tank Engine — you may have noticed there’s a new breed of coloring books with sophisticated designs and patterns being marketed to adults.

“The adult coloring book ‘fad’ has been a positive reminder that art is good for all ages,” said UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine art therapist Amy Bucciarelli, M.S., ATR-BC. “We benefit from making art and from looking at art. The surge of adult coloring books has made it more socially acceptable for adults to take a break and color.”

Here are a few reasons why coloring can be good for you.

It helps you relax.

Coloring can be a mindfulness activity, making you more aware of your breathing while being a soothing activity and offers a “mental break from the ‘adult’ things we have to think about on a day-to-day basis,” Bucciarelli said.

It makes you feel better.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, researchers found that elderly adults who participated in creative activities had fewer health problems than those who didn’t.

It makes you feel successful.

When you finish your project, you can feel a sense of accomplishment, Bucciarelli explained.

It’s important to remember that adult coloring books aren’t a replacement for counseling, therapy or medical treatment, Bucciarelli said. She said that while making art and being creative enhances health and wellness, coloring books shouldn’t serve as a replacement for more open and rich creative experiences, like creating an original piece of art, playing music or writing a poem.

Creativity is important for adults, she said; people benefit from engaging in creative tasks and finding creative communities that support those tasks.

Why be creative?

Bucciarelli said creativity can help people experience a sense of accomplishment, feelings of self worth and even intense joy.

“The most obvious way for people to be creative is through the arts, but I suggest to anyone: find something that you love to build, make, construct or be a part of,” Bucciarelli said. “It is likely there is a creative aspect to it, and that creative act has the potential to impact your life in positive and healthy ways.”

Post courtesy of Lea Latumahina

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Peyton Wesner
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