Coloring for your Stressed Brain


The practice of coloring generates wellness, quietness and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity. 

My favorite days at work are when I need to color plans for the plant install crews to follow. The landscape architect my boss hired under contract, is great at some things (seeing grade, focal points and balance), however he has a bit of trouble with using the same symbol for different plants and lack of labels. As I’ve scoured over the plan during the estimating process, I know the plan very well and can easily color code it for others.

Coloring is not a passive act, coloring involves logic to make creative decisions about which colors to use and focus on not going over the lines. During this process, other parts of your mind are freed up that allow you to become more creative.  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.

I’ve seen a plethra of adult coloring books hit the market in the past few years. My hubby even got one from his Mom last Christmas. They are not what you think of when you think of the coloring books you used as a child. These adult books use intriquit designs and adult themes to keep us older folks interested. See below.

owl coloring page

Coloring isn’t just for relaxation either. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Art projects can create a sense of accomplishment and purpose. They can provide the person with dementia — as well as caregivers — an opportunity for self-expression.”

Although, when considering coloring as an activity for your elderly loved one or someone suffering with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, it’s important to present the activity correctly.

  • Colored pencils are a better choice over crayons or markers.  Crayons may be perceived as childish or insulting, and colored markers can be messy or bleed through the pages.
  • Selecting a proper coloring book is important, as a coloring book for children could belittle a senior.
  • The theme of the coloring book should be thoughtfully considered.  Since adult coloring books have become increasingly popular, there are many with very busy, abstract or surreal images (like above) that may be unsettling to an already confused mind.

Now go out there and color!!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

48 thoughts on “Coloring for your Stressed Brain

  1. I like your coloured flower scheme for work, but the adult colouring books just don’t appeal to me. (There’s always one, isn’t there!) I prefer to relax with crossword puzzles, knitting or playing the piano. 🙂
    We use Artline permanent markers! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I embraced colouring earlier this year as an evening activity at the end of the day … or when I can’t sleep. I’ve even coloured entire pages with my left hand (before I broke my collarbone).
    It’s all those things you said it was – it’s relaxing yet challenging at the same time … colour planning, shade selection, concentration etc.

    I feel ridiculously proud of my budding creativity 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting!!
        I recently went to a “Cabernet and Canvas” event with my sister … where you are given a canvas, paint, and wine with enough time to let your creative energy flow.

        We had a blast!! … and we definitely want to paint more. In fact my sister is heading up to her cottage this weekend, armed with a canvas and a new paint set, to give her artistic muscle some exercise.

        I should mention that neither of us have ever painted before.

        Maybe one day I’ll share my colouring book – and painting. It’s certainly nothing extraordinary … although I think it’s amazing 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • OOOPS! Sorry! You were hiding in my spam folder =-0
      You are very welcome, I found your photos really interesting. Hence the follow. Really like the collages, I’ll have to figure out how you did them, especially the roll-over captions.
      Many people blog for different reasons. Depending on what yours are, my advice would change….
      Me? I blog to create a portfolio of horticulture articles to possibly pick-up a writing gig. I also do it to just do it! =-)
      Read and like other’s blogs to get followers and be nice =-) I’ve only come across a few haters, but they are easy to ignore and delete!


  3. I like this post very much., My sis had a “minor” stroke and is in rehab. She is progressing but is still very weak. I had already thought about getting her some paper to color on but I want a simple design and those that I’ve seen in the craft stores are not simple. I hope somehow to find some that are not intricate.

    Liked by 1 person

Time to fire-up the chair-to-keyboard interface!!!

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