Do you know what is the bestseller on Amazon for some time now? The adult coloring books. It’s frenzy lately. After the initial breakthrough, you can now find hundreds of different coloring books.
What’s so special about the adult coloring books?
At first, I thought it was a neat way for the adults to recall the childhood days. But as it turned out, there’s a deeper impact of the coloring and journaling on our general health. And when we say health, we don’t just mean the absence of some disease.
The best way to describe the state of health is to use the definition coined by the World Health Organization:
“…viewing man in his totality within a wide ecological spectrum, and … emphasizing the view that ill health or disease is brought about by an imbalance, or disequilibrium, of man in his total ecological system and not only by the causative agent and pathogenic evolution…”
And according to the study, published back in 2010, creating art (drawing/painting/coloring) will improve your general health in more than one way. As the result, you’ll feel less anxious, depressed, and will suffer fewer headaches and other pain in the butt everyday ailments, common for our contemporary lives.
For instance, if you devote 90 minutes every 2-3 weeks to adult coloring books, drawing, painting or even sketching something (visual art), you will effectively:
- Eliminate negative emotions while increasing the positive ones
- Become more spontaneous, less stiff, have more self-esteem and influence your social networking in a positive way
- Reduce the stress and improve the thinking process.
Apparently, the creative expression has the profound influence on our well-being.
Like everything else we do under our own free will, the creativity of any kind, but the visual art, in particular, fire the set of neurotransmitters and build additional neuronal connections between our two cerebral hemispheres. The brain likes that and as the reward, our immune system becomes brutally effective.
It appears that most of our contemporary troubles are derived from cortisol overexposure. That shit is killing us slowly but surely. It’s not supposed to be in our bodies considering everything we’ve done to improve our general safety because cortisol is the stage 1 fight or flight response hormone.
One of the outcomes of its action is serious inhibition of our advanced features such as working memory. In other words, while under the stress, we don’t think clearly. Instead, we’re using our primitive parts of the brain, acting more like an animal than an advanced creature such as a human being.
So give it a shot. Buy an adult coloring book for a starter or start journaling.
I did a similar thing. Got me a pro painting set. It does wonders, I tell you that.
And same goes for the journaling.
For instance, I’m typing these words and they have a positive impact on my well-being (hopefully on yours also). But when I take the pen and piece of paper and start to draft things, using the combo of words, dates, times and sketches, it feels completely different. Like something has changed in a way I’m thinking about the stuff that I write.
Nothing would thrill me more than to be able to write newsletters with my own hand. I believe that’s why we enjoy those old classic handwritten letters far more than emails. We know that someone made an effort to write them. Email is cold and easy. Letters and postcards are warm and complex.
So how about you shut down your laptop and write a letter to someone you care for? It will overwhelm both of you with the cocktail of reward chemicals.
I do that from time to time so I know the feeling. And judging by the feedback, the person reading my handwritten letter, feels good about it also.
Maybe it’s time we all recall the good old days and pay tribute to them. Days of fun. Days of art.
Every child on this planet draws. So did you. Do it again.
 The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature, Heather L. Stuckey, DEd and Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, Am J Public Health. 2010 February; 100(2): 254–263., doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.156497, ABSTRACT: This review explores the relationship between engagement with the creative arts and health outcomes, specifically the health effects of music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing. Although there is evidence that art-based interventions are effective in reducing adverse physiological and psychological outcomes, the extent to which these interventions enhance health status is largely unknown. Our hope is to establish a foundation for continued investigation into this subject and to generate further interest in researching the complexities of engagement with the arts and health.