Most trends are a waste of time and money (remember the baked potato diet?) not to mention hideous (remember velour jumpsuits and the mullet?), but the latest trend of adult coloring books may be one worth paying attention to. Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden coloring book has become a global bestseller, having sold over 1.4 million copies. A friend recently gave me one, and I am totally hooked.
Rediscovering the joy of coloring is not only fun, experts say it is also good for us. In fact, there is a long history of people coloring for mental health reasons. Psychiatrist Carl Jung prescribed coloring to patients over a century ago to calm them and relieve anxiety and now the science is catching up. Dr. Ben Michaelis explains:
Because it is a centering activity, the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that is involved with out fear response, actually gets a little bit of rest and it ultimately has a really calming effect over time.
Basford believes the appeal of adult coloring books lies in their tactile interactive nature — a much-needed respite from our screen-obsessed lives:
People are really excited to do something analog and creative, at a time when we’re all so overwhelmed by screens and the Internet. And coloring is not as scary as a blank sheet of paper or canvas. It’s a great way to de-stress.
For people like me who were never good in art class and have trouble drawing a straight line, it is an unintimidating opportunity to be creative and participate in something hands-on.
Here are five reasons why it is worth breaking out the crayons:
1. It is engaging.
2. It builds fine motor skills.
3. It reduces stress.
4. It is creative.
5. It is fun.
Given all the benefits, some say coloring may even be the “new meditation.”
Coloring isn’t just for kids. It’s time to channel your inner kindergartener.
This article was originally published on Huffington Post