How Adult Coloring Can Help You Find Your Calm

September 29, 2018

A look at the effects of anxiety on the body, and how adult coloring can calm your mind and body.

The pressures of modern-day life can leave even the most Zen person feeling a little stressed and anxious at times. While short bursts of stress can be productive with things like meeting a tight deadline or speeding up your reactions in a dangerous situation, constant stress and anxiety can cause serious health problems. With the serious health problems that can result from constant anxiety, having different strategies and activities that calm the mind and body are essential for overcoming anxiety. In this article, we’re taking a look at the effects of anxiety on the body and how something like adult coloring can help with calming the mind and body.

What are the effects of anxiety on the body?

Anxiety can have many different physical and mental manifestations in the body. When you reflect on when you’ve felt anxious before, you may remember having a feeling of impending doom with difficulty concentrating. This is due to the rush of blood that flows to your brain when you feel anxious. Known as the body’s flight or fight response, this is your body’s way of preparing and protecting you from threats. While this may have been helpful to our ancestors who faced physical threats regularly, our modern-day lives don’t have as much of a need for this flight or fight response. 

If you’re constantly in a state of stress and anxiety you may experience physical symptoms such as:

  • headaches from stress and tension;
  • a pounding heart due to your body’s fight or flight response;
  • difficulty breathing or shallow breathing;
  • loss of libido;
  • an upset stomach resulting in stomach pains or digestion problems;
  • chronic fatigue and difficulty sleeping; and
  • muscle aches and pains.

When you feel any of these symptoms and you suspect you may be experiencing anxiety, giving your mind something else to focus on can help to calm you down. This is why adult coloring has increased in popularity in recent years.

Can adult coloring help you find your calm?

Research into the effects of doing fine motor activities on the parasympathetic nervous system has shown that these activities calm the mind and body. Fine motor activities that can have a calming effect including drawing, coloring and painting. If you don’t think you’re a natural artist, drawing and painting can feel overwhelming. This is one of the reasons why adult coloring has grown in popularity in recent years due its easy, affordable and approachable nature, and efficacy in calming the mind.

If you’ve never tried adult coloring and you find it difficult to deal with anxiety, try coloring for yourself today. You can visit this link to download a selection of different coloring pages. The intricate designs that are typical in adult coloring require your full focus, along with the motor skills to take a pencil and color inside the lines. This combination of focus and small movements using the pencil to color, brings your body out of its flight or fight response and back to a state of calm. After a short time coloring, you may notice that your breathing slows down and becomes more full (filling your stomach and not just your chest), while physical symptoms such as headaches may reduce in severity.

Adult coloring is an affordable and easy way to occupy yourself, so you can quiet your mind. Remember, however, if you’re finding it difficult to get through each day without constant feelings of stress and anxiety, talking to a medical professional could also help.

Please note: The Color for Calm contest detailed in the link above closed on August 30, 2018 but you can still download the competition images to color at your own leisure.

Helpful resources:

Anxiety and physical illness. (2018). 

health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/anxiety_and_physical_illness

Anxiety disorders. (2016). 

nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml#part1

The biological effects and consequences of anxiety. (n.d.). 

anxietycare.org.uk/docs/biologicaleffects.asp

5 things you should know about stress. (n.d.). 

nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml

Stress and your health. (2018). 

womenshealth.gov/mental-health/good-mental-health/stress-and-your-health

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