You may have fond childhood memories of coloring books and filling them in with an array of bright colors, but Kate Middleton is here to show us that coloring is not just for kids. Prince William revealed on Tuesday that his wife enjoys adult coloring books, her favorite being Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book.
Basford was honored at Buckingham Palace this week for services to art and entrepreneurship, so Prince William had the opportunity to divulge a little piece of information about Kate. “Prince William actually said that his wife likes to color in the Secret Garden, which was really sweet,” Basford told the Telegraph. Basford’s 2013 book is credited with sparking the recent trend in adult coloring and has sold more than one million copies. “I think people are just craving a digital detox,” the 33-year-old told USA Today.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) November 29, 2016
According to the American Art Therapy Association, people use art to help with the same issues that traditional therapy can address, such as to “explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem.” Everybody from cancer patients to PTSD and anxiety sufferers consider coloring a helpful form of self-expression and release. And while coloring itself is not necessarily considered art therapy, because art therapy relies on the relationship between the client and the therapist, adult coloring is gaining traction in the neuropsychology field.
Neuropsychologist and adult coloring book author Stan Rodski, PhD, says that coloring elicits relaxation similar to that of meditation, due to the repetitive nature and focus on the present moment. “The most amazing things occurred — we started seeing changes in heart rate, changes in brainwaves,” Rodski told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation of his analysis of adult “colorists.” He says that part of this neurological response comes from the repetition and attention to patterns and detail associated with coloring.
Neurologist Joel Pearson of the University of New South Wales says that the therapeutic effect of adult coloring also comes from its ability to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. “You have to look at the shape and size, you have to look at the edges, and you have to pick a color,” Pearson told Nine MSN. “It should occupy the same parts of the brain that stops any anxiety-related mental imagery happening as well. Anything that helps you control your attention is going to help.”
If you want to unwind but have trouble meditating, consider picking up a coloring book and some markers, just like Kate.