It’s a fact. Adult coloring books have become some of the best-selling books due to their therapeutic effects. Commonly recommended by psychiatrists and yoga instructors as an alternative to meditation, coloring has several calming benefits for adults, including reduced anxiety and increased focus abilities.
To better understand the effects of coloring, one source showed that subjects’ anxiety levels dropped while coloring. However, those results did not occur for subjects who were doodling or drawing free hand without a template. This is because a major cause of the calming effects is the predictability of coloring books and the lack of tough decision-making involved. When coloring in a coloring book, you only have to decide which color to use. The final outcome is pretty predictable, causing our brains to relax.
The Science. The part of the brain that processes basic feelings is called the amygdala, which is responsible for sounding the alarm during stressful situations. While this is useful for legitimate situations, a majority of the time it is falsely triggered by high amounts of stress causing our brains to exhaust themselves. Coloring calms the amygdala and reduces fear, stress, and anxiety while also stimulating the brain, which enhances focus, problem solving, and organizational skills. The calming and therapeutic benefits of coloring make it an ideal exercise for enhancing mindfulness at the workplace.
The Workplace Reasoning. With an increased focus on mindfulness in the workplace, it’s time to discuss the direct benefits of coloring in the workplace. Coloring is an affordable option to boost creativity and relieve stress in your office that allows your employees to have fun disconnecting from their work for a bit. Coloring in a coloring page has very low stakes, which is why it is a pleasant task, but it also causes those participating to be less stressed and more inclined toward creative experimentation. Focusing on this one task for even ten minutes allows your employees’ minds to open up to fresh ideas and perspectives leading to greater problem solving and creative brainstorming in their work.
It has become well known that showing your employees you care about their well-being, through the type of benefits you offer, goes a long way with their level of satisfaction and engagement. Top companies, like Google, Hilton and GE, are incorporating mindfulness into their well-being strategies to encourage employees to become more aware of their current mental state in order to yield better results. Dedicating a few minutes to coloring can be one microstep to increasing employee creativity, building mindfulness, and increasing engagement.