A woman holding an oversized crayon drawing. Light rays are bursting from the tip.

Just Color It: 6 Benefits of Coloring for Individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Last updated: March 2023

I can remember, from an early age, loving to color. I would spend hours upon hours choosing the perfect colors for my picture. Absolutely, I would get lost in my colorings. I colored all the time.

When I looked back at my colorings, I could often see what mood I was in by the colors I used. For me, if I was sad, I used lots of shades of blue. When I was happy, I used lots of shades of yellow, orange, and green. When I was mad and angry, lots of reds, maroons, and black colors.

As the years passed, I got away from coloring. Not exactly sure why - I guess I just got busy and maybe even thought of it as an activity that young children do.

Trying out adult coloring

I got back into coloring about 5 years ago. I can tell you that coloring is just not for kids. Coloring provides a lot of benefits to our overall health. They have actual adult coloring books that I have purchased.

The great thing is there are coloring books that have very little detail in the pictures and those books that have a lot of details. Depending on how my hands are working on any given day, I can switch up the level of detail of the picture I color.

6 benefits of adult coloring for RA

1. Stress relief

Coloring, for me, puts me in what I like to call my “happy zone”. It reduces my stress level, relaxes my mind. It also distracts me in a positive and creative way from my RA and the accompanying chronic pain.

2. Improves hand mobility and decreases hand stiffness

I have found that coloring on a regular basis helps keep my range of motion in my hands and wrist in a good place. It helps alleviate the hand stiffness I feel on a daily basis. I use crayons, pencils, and markers of varying sizes. Depending on any given day, my grip abilities change. So, this gives me options.

On really bad hand grip days, I poke my colored pencils through a tennis ball. When you do that, you don’t have to have much hand grip or range of motion to be able to color. It’s a quick and cheap adaptation for your colored pencil.

3. A sense of accomplishment and well-being

On those days when my body is unable to do a whole lot, I am able to look at my coloring with a sense of accomplishment.

4. No travel required

Let’s be honest: there are days that my RA affects my body to the point that I am unable to physically leave my house. What I love the most about coloring is that I can do it right from the comfort of my own home. Honestly, on those bad days, I can color right from my own couch.

5. Constructive use of time

Coloring daily helps me to constructively use up parts of my day.

6. Feel good hormones

Coloring is a great activity because it allows me to use both sides of my brain to complete the activity. When I am coloring, I tend to relax and go into my “happy zone.” One reason for this is that my brain releases chemicals that makes me feel good.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

What flare symptom do you wish you could avoid the most?