Doing This One Activity Will Instantly Make You Happy (Try It For 20 Minutes)

via Flickr - Xava Du
via Flickr – Xava Du

There’s an unusual trend quickly gaining popularity among adult women in France, coloring. That’s right, coloring as in coloring books. Many adults are starting to find coloring is a fantastic way to combat stress, anxiety, and depression. Publishers have also noticed the trend and have started selling coloring books for adults.

via Amazon.com
via Amazon.com

Why is coloring beneficial for adults? According to psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala, “The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills.The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.” It’s like a massage for the part of your brain that gets the most work when life is being uncooperative.

via Amazon.com
via Amazon.com

It’s also awesomely fun and super nostalgic. Everybody has colored as a child and revisiting the activity takes you back to a more carefree time. When coloring you aren’t thinking about your adult problems or your adult stress. Psychologist Antoni Martínez recommends it as a relaxation technique noting, “We can use it to enter into a more creative, freer state…I myself have practiced that. I recommend it in a quiet environment, even with chill music. Let the color and the lines flow.”

When I was a kid my favorite activity was coloring. I loved winning classroom coloring contests and being the reigning coloring champion. I admit I may have let it go to my head. I was not humble in my coloring victories. Nobody had yet explained to me the concept of being a sore winner. Not that it would have stopped my shameless boasting.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” -Pablo Picasso

via Amazon.com
via Amazon.com

Coloring in the past has not been viewed as an activity that can be advanced in skill level. We either become real artists by using different mediums or we are expected to give up the activity. I think giving up coloring is a mistake. We have this concept of what “real art” is or isn’t. Coloring is not considered art because you are just filling in the spaces. When in fact coloring is the foundation of art. It is the first time we are encouraged to learn about color and put it on paper.

The brilliance of rediscovering coloring is there is no wrong way to color (even if you still go outside the lines). There are no rules for coloring and no expectations. Everybody has the capability to start coloring again. All you have to do is listen to your favorite music and fill in the spaces. Except now, as an adult, you can color while enjoying a beer, a margarita, or a glass of wine. [t-mark]

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