Featuring colorist Ronda Francis

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Why Coloring and Art Can Be Therapeutic

Can drawing, painting, crafting, coloring, and even doodling be GOOD for us?

Well, I always thought so, but turns out I am not the only one.

Acrylic Painting Techniques
Shutterstock photo from Africa Studio

It seems that creating art is a type of meditation...calming, centering, and "an active training of the mind that increases awareness and emphasizes acceptance of feeling and thoughts without judgement and relaxation of the body and mind." (The Washington Post)

Most will also agree that art seems to take us elsewhere, a place of peace and healing, where we can escape from the stress of everyday life. Turns out this escape is actually good for us, too. Art helps us connect to our inner selves, the true beings we were meant to be. When we listen to our own, very often negative thought loops, we can create self-doubt, insecurity, and fear. Hobbies like drawing, crafting, and coloring allow us to break free from this mind-chatter and get into a free-flowing, alpha wave inducing flow, something we very much need. Alpha wave biofeedback has been used to treat depression and anxiety. (Psychology Today)

Speaking of brain waves, "alpha waves are produced when you are awake but relaxed and not processing too much information, such as first thing in the morning, just before you go to sleep, when you're daydreaming, or practicing meditation. Alpha activity has been linked to a reduction in stress, anxiety, discomfort, and pain. It may also boost memory." (Caba

Meditation is not for everyone. Sitting cross-legged on the floor and focusing on a tone or trying to have no thoughts seems counter-intuitive to calmness to some. Yes expert after expert claim the benefits of the inner stillness and mind-emptying that meditation creates. How wonderful to know that when we create art, we are creating the same type of benefits for ourselves, along with an outward expression of this work that we can look at, share and enjoy. Eckhart Tolle writes, "All artists , whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness," which is just the state--or non-state--that meditation is trying to create.

Not every artist or colorist is on social media, but Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms are the perfect place to find others who have the same hobbies as you do. Studies have shown that loneliness is a very stressful state. Coloring groups, art pages, and drawing communities are a great place to find like minded people, and possibly some new friends. Some say being an artist can be a lonely endeavor, but now there are ways to connect even if we have to stay home.

One final word, you do NOT have to be Leonardo da Vinci to experience the joy and benefits of art, coloring, or crafting. Find your thing and do it with gusto...and do not seek approval from anyone.

Here's your homework...get two blank sheets of paper, or coloring pages, and, with NO attempt at GOOD RESULTS, draw or color something just because you want to. Maybe use colors you have never thought to use, or a different medium, color outside the lines if you want...JUST GO FOR IT. See where you end up. Take your time or hurry up--just don't be attached to the outcome. See what happens...you might be surprised.


P.S. I'd love to see what you end up doing. You can find me in my coloring gallery on Facebook, or in my studio. dealenihan@gmail.com Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.


  1. Loved this. I'm for sure no expert at coloring, but the benefits and enjoyment I get are so worthwhile.

    1. That's the wonderful thing about NOT being an expert at something--you can enjoy it with no responsibility attached. Ahhhh... xo

  2. Replies
    1. For sure. Nice to find out you are right about something you hope is true.

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