Coloring is a fun hobby for people of all ages, but did you know that it is also good for your brain? Here are some of its mental benefits, which will have you reaching for that coloring book.
Exercises the brain
Coloring activates and exercises both sides of the cerebral cortex – a brand structure that plays a role in attention, awareness, perception, thought, memory, language, and consciousness. More specifically, it activates the parts of the brain responsible for creativity and logic.
The logic side of the brain is involved in choosing how to color a picture based on previous knowledge about the picture or coloring itself. For example, you would be using logic when trying to color within the lines. You understand that the lines are typically outlining areas that need to be colored or are separating areas of the picture that may need to be colored differently.
Logic is also used when choosing which colors to use based on the information found within the picture. For example, you may choose to color grass in a picture green because in the world around you grass is green. However, even when using the logic side of the brain when coloring, there is still room for creative liberties.
The creative side of the brain is activated when you take creative liberties. This includes things such as pairing colors, blending colors, adding things to a pre-made picture, and more. For example, you may choose to add stars to a picture of a night sky. Whether your coloring experience is dominated more so by creativity or logic, there is no right or wrong way to color, so people are free to color how and what they please.
The more you color, the more you are actively using these parts of the brain and requiring them to communicate, which can help improve mental strength and endurance.
Helps with brain development in children
As children grow and develop, it is important for them to take part in activities that are both educational and recreational, that also promote brain development–coloring offers this.
Coloring helps children develop physical and mental skills, including fine motor skills. This means practicing using the small muscles in the hands and wrists to do things such as holding a pencil or using scissors. While coloring, children are using their smaller muscles to hold a pencil or crayon correctly. This is something that may be difficult to do at first, but will improve as children practice through coloring, as well as other activities. This will also help improve hand strength and grip.
Coloring also uses sight in combination with fine motor skills. Children are both watching and doing at the same time, helping to develop hand and eye coordination. For example, when starting to color for the first time, it may be difficult for children to color within the lines, but as hand and eye coordination improve, this becomes easier.
As mentioned above, coloring activates the logic and creative sides of the cerebral cortex. The more these parts of the brain are activated, the more they are required to communicate, which can help improve mental strength, which is important for children and adults alike.
Encouraging creativity is especially important in children because it helps them to use, generate, or recognize unique ways to create works of art, solve problems, communicate with others, entertain ourselves, entertain others, and more.
Coloring offers a place to be creative as well as encourages self-expression because there is no right or wrong way to color. This allows children to experiment with colors and improve color recognition. Children get to learn about different colors, the difference between colors, the effects different colors can have on a picture, how to use color, how to combine colors, explore coloring techniques, and more. Coloring can also provide a safe space to express emotions that may be difficult to express through words.
It also opens up the part of the brain responsible for organizing and problem-solving, which plays a role in focus. Children are typically putting their focus and concentration on the act of coloring, helping to develop these skills, which are important to everyday life activities.
Relaxes your brain
Coloring is unique in that it can both exercise and relax your brain. One of the ways it does this is by reducing stress and anxiety. Adults and children may have different responsibilities, but they everyone deals with stress and anxiety. Fortunately, coloring can help reduce these.
Coloring will not necessarily take away what is causing stress and anxiety, but it can provide a temporary escape or break from stressful and anxious thoughts and feelings. Additionally, it is a relatively easy and low-risk activity. Along with coloring comes the freedom to experiment with what and how to color, without any real stakes You can color landscapes or abstract pages, you can make your coloring neat or messy, you can mix colors and experiment with color combinations, and more. There are no real consequences, with lots of opportunities, when it comes to coloring. Even if you make a mistake, you can always start over or pick a different picture to color. This can help reduce the anxiety you may feel towards the act of coloring itself.
All of these aspects can help with self-soothing. Taking a break from stressful and anxious feelings through coloring can help replace patterns of negative thinking, which can calm the mind and allow it to better cope with emotional turmoil and trauma.
Coloring can also relax your brain before bed. It a great alternative to using electronic devices before going to sleep. Electronics, such as cellphones, emit a blue light that can reduce the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep cycle. Replacing phone time with coloring can minimize the impact of blue light before bedtime.
Overall, coloring is good for your brain because it offers both a place to exercise the brain and relax the brain, while also helping children to develop physical and mental skills and capabilities needed for everyday life. It does this while being an easy and fun activity perfect for people of all ages.