If you think coloring is just for kids, think again. Coloring for grownups isn’t new but it’s popularity has been on the rise, and for good reason. Coloring stimulates the right side of the brain – where your creativity, intuition and visualization lies. More importantly – the action of coloring requires focus which is regulated by the frontal lobe of the brain (the area responsible for executive functioning). Changes in executive functioning (social skills, focus, ability to follow tasks and more, are often the behavior changes are usually noticed first as people begin to show signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Stress levels go down and feelings of peace and happiness increase. Because coloring is a great way to shift the brain’s attention and focus, it is a great activity for both caregivers and people with any degree of dementia.

According to an article in the Washington Times, “Coloring gets you out of your adult mind, where you know nothing but problems,” said the director of behavioral sciences at OhioHealth Grant Medical Education.

Coloring helps you to detach from the many screens that have taken over our lives – from televisions, to computers to smartphones. Going “old school” and grabbing colored pencils, crayons or markers and paper is a great escape for all ages.

Coloring is a great activity to share with a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s or for them to do alone. Since it doesn’t rely on recalling learned knowledge or memories, it is an activity that people can do longer into the disease.

Try different types of coloring books or coloring pages to see what level of detail keeps them engaged without becoming frustrating. Colored pens or pencils are better for intricate designs.

My book, Color Yourself Happy, brings a new dimension to the rapidly growing adult coloring book category. The book features 50 illustrations to color: 25 designs and 25 quotes of varying intricacy – that all include the word HAPPY as well as 3 hidden arrows to find. Finding the word HAPPY and the arrows are two more ways the book helps people focus and strengthen executive functioning in the brain.

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Here’s to less stress and a healthy brain!

– Tara Reed