Coloring Books: The Latest Prescription for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul
Studies show that practicing art can significantly reduce stress, even if you’re not a professional artist. A professor at Drexel University recently launched an experiment where he had participants gather to create any kind of artwork they wanted for 45 minutes straight. Their cortisol levels were recorded prior to the session. And at the end, the participants’ cortisol levels had dropped, indicating lower stress levels. The people in the study were also asked about their prior artistic experience. Many people had no artistic background or professional experience whatsoever.
The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
~ Pablo Picasso
This study, and many other studies like this one, show that humans are hardwired to benefit from practicing art.
This may be one reason why the adult coloring book craze has swept the nation. Nielsen Bookscan estimates that approximately 12 million books were sold in 2015 when the trend first began. Keep in mind, in 2014 only 1 million books were sold! People quickly began to realize that drawing in coloring books is actually a pretty relaxing activity that doesn’t require spending loads of money on supplies and art classes. In a world where we’re constantly bombarded by emails, social media notices, and so many choices to make minute by minute, coloring offers you an excuse to slow down, which is good for the body, mind, and soul.
While some assume the trend is leveling out, coloring book sales were actually higher in 2016 than 2015 according to BookScan data!
More and more we are seeing coloring books take on new shapes. The traditional black line art coloring book has transformed into something much more. Now, they are used as a medium to further express an idea (coloring books on climate change), a brand (Vera Bradley pattern coloring books), or even a funny pop culture reference (coloring books on memes anyone?…yes please!)
Speaking of Vera Bradley coloring books, we’re likely to see more companies partnering with publishers to promote their portfolio of work. While the trend began as a way to relax from daily demands of life, it has now seeped into the fabric of our society as a central component to the book publishing industry.
While many industries, brands, and pop culture powerhouses will continue using coloring books as an additional way to engage with fans, there’s still always the case that coloring books continue to provide a meditative, health-boosting way to de-stress. After all, as Pablo Picasso once said “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”