alive logo

5 Health Benefits of Adult Colouring Books

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood


5 Health Benefits of Adult Colouring Books

Oh no! There’s a pencil crayon shortage! It’s due to the popularity of adult colouring books. So what’s the attraction? And what are the benefits of colouring?

E-news-Mar29-Adult colouring

When I was a kid, I believed there were two kinds of people. Those who coloured within the lines and those who didn’t. I was one of the colourers who did my best to stay within the lines. (Is it any wonder I eventually became an editor?) But enough about me.

Unless you’ve been shipwrecked on a desert island, you must have heard of one of the biggest crazes to hit adults since cellphones: the adult colouring book. Although the name itself may seem like an oxymoron, four of the top 10 Canadian best-selling books so far in 2016 are adult colouring books.

It’s not just Canadians who love to colour. The Telegraph reported online that there's a current shortage of pencil crayons. Faber-Castell, the world’s largest pencil crayon maker, has added extra work shifts to keep up with demand.

There’s no need to hide your love of colouring. If you decide to indulge in a simple childhood (I mean, adult) pleasure, you’re in good company. Millions of adults are doing it. But if you feel a need to justify the hours you spend sharpening pencils, poring over which page to colour next, and displaying your best work on Instagram, all you need to know is that colouring is good for you.

1. De-stress with 50 shades of pencils

Select your favourite colour—magenta, aqua, violet, or jade green—and immerse yourself in the soothing rhythm of colouring. Colouring can retrain your amygdala, the part of your brain that responds to stress and anxiety.

E-news-Mar29-Pencil crayons

2. Stop and focus on the roses

Some of the most popular colouring books feature pictures of mandalas, intricate gardens, animals, and hidden ocean worlds. The act of colouring helps people switch off their pesky brain and focus on the moment. It’s an effect that’s been compared to knitting or even meditation.

3. Build better brain communication

When you’re colouring, the two hemispheres of your brain communicate. The logical side of the brain helps you identify forms and stay within the lines, while your creative brain helps you choose the colours you use.

4. Rev up your fine motor skills

Colouring involves areas of the cerebral cortex that are involved in fine motor skills and vision. Practice makes perfect. And just as colouring aids the development of children’s fine motor skills, it may help older adults retain those skills.

E-news-Mar29-Colouring book page

5. Take a techno break

As my mom and I coloured together last Christmas, she said, "It’s like reliving your childhood." And that could be one of the most appealing things about colouring. Colouring allows you to take a break from the outside world with its endless Twitter feed and bad news stories to enjoy a simple childhood activity.

If you haven’t tried adult colouring yet, you might want to soon before the pencil crayon shortage reaches epic proportions!



Exercise Is Critical to Maintain Your Brain

Exercise Is Critical to Maintain Your Brain

Brendan Rolfe, CPHR, BA, DipABrendan Rolfe, CPHR, BA, DipA