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At Castle Arts, we love colouring – it’s a fun way to get creative, easy to get started, and there’s a themed colouring book or printable sheet out there for everyone. Over the past decade, colouring books have surged in popularity, with millions of people enjoying this fun pastime – but did you know that colouring is more than just a creative hobby?

A growing body of research suggests that there are several benefits of colouring for mental health and overall well-being, and the good news is that you don’t have to be an experienced artist to enjoy them, as anyone can pick up some coloured pencils and enjoy a moment of calm. Colouring has been recognized for its ability to soothe negative emotions, offering a unique blend of creative enjoyment and emotional healing.

Read on for eight science-backed reasons why you should try colouring for yourself:

 

How Colouring Books Double as Art Therapy: 8 Well-Being Benefits

 

1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

One of the most notable benefits of colouring is its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that colouring can reduce anxiety levels after just 20 minutes, particularly when colouring in complex shapes or patterns. One Art Therapy article describes how experiments found that, compared to reading, colouring reduced anxiety and improved mindfulness in participating students. A 2020 study showed similar results, with 20 minutes of mandala colouring significantly reducing anxiety.

Focusing on colouring can calm the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls the stress response and is activated by fear. With repetitive activity like colouring, you’re encouraged to focus your attention on the task at hand, letting go of any worries and allowing yourself to feel soothed. Even if you only have a little bit of free time to spare, these moments of stress relief are important to improve overall well-being and maintain a feeling of calm.

 

2. Helps You Reach a Meditative State

A meditative state is when the mind is focused and in a deep state of relaxation. Colouring can help you find this inner calm by directing your attention to a singular action and encouraging you to focus only on the present moment.

Colouring occupies the logical part of your brain, freeing your mind from the chatter of worries and to-do lists. You become immersed in the activity in front of you, achieving a peaceful state of contentment.

 

A woman sits on a bench with an adult coloring book surrounded by lush greenery.

 

3. Stimulates Both Hemispheres of the Brain

You’ve probably heard of the “left and right brain” – the two hemispheres that control different processes. Colouring activates both the left and right hemispheres of the brain, as choosing colours engages the creative right side, while colouring inside the lines activates the logic-oriented left side. As the two hemispheres communicate with each other, your brain is getting a “full workout”, which can improve cognitive function and problem-solving abilities.

 

4. Provides a Digital Detox and Could Improve Sleep

If you feel like you’re always on your phone, using your computer, or watching TV, you might benefit from a hobby that lets you unplug. Colouring provides a refreshing opportunity to enjoy a screen-free activity and give your eyes a break from the harsh blue light of your devices, particularly if you’re looking for a way to wind down before bed. Blue light suppresses the body’s release of melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel drowsy, so by replacing your smartphone with a colouring book, you may find it easier to fall asleep.

 

5. It’s an Effective Alternative to Meditation

Meditation has many well-documented benefits, but some people find it challenging to “turn off” their thoughts and reach a meditative state. Colouring can be an easier way to feel inner stillness without the pressure of keeping your mind completely blank, making it a meditative exercise that’s accessible to everyone. Relieve stress through the rhythmic, repetitive motions of colouring and notice benefits similar to those achieved through meditation, with less frustration.

 

A man on a beach coloring-in the Castle Arts Magnificent Castles Coloring Book.

 

6. Helps Manage Symptoms of Poor Mental Health

Colouring isn’t the ultimate cure for stress, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, but it is a safe and accessible way to manage some symptoms of poor mental health. A study by New Zealand researchers found that colouring books have therapeutic mental health benefits while colouring-in for as little as 10 minutes a day, indicating that colouring can be a valuable complementary tool to help manage symptoms. A 2022 study also showed that colouring combined with conventional therapy in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) could have a mood-boosting effect and better alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

While colouring shouldn’t be considered a replacement for professional treatment for mental health conditions, concentrating on colouring-in can provide a healthy distraction from negative thought loops and the calming effects may ease physical symptoms of anxiety and stress.

 

7. Exercises Your Fine Motor Skills

Filling in the fine details of an intricate colouring page can help maintain and even improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Activities like coloring, puzzles, and brain games promote cognitive function and stimulate the brain, improving memory and concentration. Some research even suggests that art therapy may help delay the onset of dementia by keeping the brain active and preserving mental functioning.

 

8. Fosters a Sense of Accomplishment

Completing a coloring page makes you feel good and provides a real sense of accomplishment. Feeling pride in your finished work is an excellent mood booster and can have a positive impact on self-esteem, especially for anyone who feels like they “aren’t very creative” or experienced at art. Watching a design come to life through your hard work is an extremely satisfying experience and will motivate you to keep creating.

 

Castle Arts Amazing Butterflies Coloring Book laid out amongst greenery at a butterfly house, alongside a set of colored pencils. A butterfly rests on the page.

 

Start Your Colouring Journey with the Amazing Butterflies Colouring Book

If you're ready to experience the calming benefits of colouring for yourself, our new Amazing Butterflies Colouring Book is the perfect place to start. This stunning colouring book features 72 pages of intricate butterfly designs, plus full-colour reference images to inspire your creativity and fully immerse yourself in the meditative experience. Enjoy countless hours of peaceful colouring and let your worries fly away while you lose yourself in a quiet world of creativity.

 

Colouring is a simple yet powerful way to carve out some “me-time”, reduce stress, and give your brain a chance to relax and recharge. By incorporating this fun, creative outlet into your self-care routine, you’ll enjoy several benefits for your mental, emotional, and cognitive well-being.

 

Excited to get started? Browse our full collection of colouring books and find your ultimate companion in stress relief and creative expression.

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