It relaxes the brain.
Coloring flows the attention away from ourselves and brings you into the current moment. “In this way, it is very much like a meditative exercise,” says clinical psychologist Scott M. Bea, PsyD.
In this state, you’re not thinking about all the things that stress you out. “The difficulties of life evaporate from your awareness”, he adds.
Remember those zig-zags? The possibility of going against what’s expected is part of what makes coloring fun. You can be neat one minute, and race outside the lines the next. There is no one way to do it, and these low stakes are a part of what makes it pleasurable and relaxing.