How Coloring Helps the Brain

Did you know? There are a lot of positive ways to ease stress and free the mind from overloading. One of the best ways to release negative tension is by coloring. This article explores how coloring helps the brain.


Many experts say that color and emotions have an interconnected relationship. Cool colors such as blue, purple, and green tend to give off a relaxing vibe. These colors are recommended for bedrooms because their calming and relaxing effect can cause people to sleep peacefully. On the other hand, warm colors bring happy and energetic emotions. Warm colors such as red, orange, and yellow can give off an energizing vibe. This is why warm colors are mostly recommended for activity rooms.


Coloring can be helpful in boosting the creative skills of children. However, adults may also benefit greatly from coloring. Coloring pictures gives a therapeutic effect in adults. In fact, there are a lot of proven benefits of coloring. Read on to learn more about the benefits of coloring.


How Coloring Helps the Brain


For those who consider coloring as a therapeutic activity, the following benefits may be achieved. These benefits may help those who need help in stress management, creative release, anxiety reduction, and increase in focus.


Coloring Reduces Stress Levels


Coloring relaxes your mind and decreases your stress levels. Just by thinking of what color you want to use, your mind’s focus is already being diverted to the coloring activity which lowers your short-term stress. Without stress, you feel more productive.


According to a study done by Jourdan Rodak in 2017, coloring has been proven to be effective for stress management. The study was conducted on veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It discovered the positive advantage of mandala coloring on the subject participants. The research concluded that coloring significantly reduces stress and even increases memory in veterans with PTSD (1). Therefore, coloring is an easy and cost-effective stress reliever for stress.


Coloring Stimulates Your Brain


Coloring has the capability to activate parts of your brain. It targets your amygdala specifically which is known as the fear center of the brain. Moreover, some scientists say that making art, including coloring, doodling, and drawing, also activates the brain’s reward pathway (2).


In this 2017 research done at Drexel University, the participants of the study were given tasks on the three activities (coloring, doodling, and drawing). The researchers used a technology that measures blood flow in the areas of the participants’ brains while doing the activities. It showed results of an increase in blood flow in the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for people’s actions, feelings, and thoughts. The research proved that coloring, doodling, and drawing makes people feel rewarded.


Coloring Helps Reduce Anxiety


Regarding the relaxation of the mind, it has been proven that coloring significantly reduces self-induced anxiety levels in people. Anxiety has become a common problem in today’s society. This is probably because people spend more time on social media, have bad sleeping routines, and are overthinking their problems in life. However, research has shown that coloring can help.


In a recently released international journal, a study on how coloring activities reduce anxiety levels in people is thoroughly presented. The research participants were adults within the age range of 55 to 75 years old. The researchers observed the anxiety levels of the adults based on a scale. They then had the participants color mandalas and plaid patterns. The results of the study showed a significant amount of reduced anxiety levels after coloring the mandalas and patterns. The scientists concluded that coloring helps ease self-induced anxiety in adults (3).


Coloring Improves Your Focus


Losing your focus on an activity you are set on doing is rather common nowadays. With the advancement of technology, smartphones have become a necessity rather than a want for many people. According to statistics, 71% of America’s population check their smartphones every 12 minutes (4). This statistic shows that technology has greatly affected people’s attention span. Therefore, it decreases people’s effectiveness to focus or concentrate. Again, coloring can help. Coloring has been proven to create an advantage in increasing focus.


There has been much evidence that coloring can boost people’s focus and concentration. Some experts suggest that short coloring activity breaks help improve focus because your mind is pre-occupied. Your mind processes how you want to color the image and how you want to express it through hand-eye coordination. This allows your brain to focus just on the image you are coloring. With these coloring activity breaks, you are able to re-focus on your important tasks successfully.


How do colors affect your brain?


Studies have shown that different colors give off different ‘vibes’ that specifically target states of mind (5).


  • Blue – According to studies, blue gives off the ability to make people think creatively. This is mostly recommended for thinking about creative plans and designs.


  • Red – Psychologists say that red is most effective in making people pay attention to critical detail. Examples of detailed activities are memory retrieval and proofreading.


  • Green – This color represents low wavelength colors which aid in sleep. They also help people become efficient and focus on tasks.


  • Orange – The color orange instantly gives you a significant boost in your mood. Some experts conclude that this color increases oxygen in the brain which stimulates mental activity. With this said, the color orange helps people in learning lessons better.


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