Why More Adults Are Coloring for Stress Relief

If you walked into a bookstore in the past few years, you might have seen coloring books — adult coloring books, that is. These aren’t the kind with lots of white space and simple designs, but rather complex illustrations from nature scenes to graphics. The benefits of coloring now extend past the preschool set into adulthood.

What may initially seem like a simple pastime is actually regarded as a highly relaxing, social, creative and meditative activity. How can you get started and benefit from coloring?

Health Benefits of Coloring

There’s proven science behind art therapy, the process of artistic activities in healing mind and body. Coloring is one type of art therapy. Numerous studies highlight its benefits, including a recent study from Palliative & Supportive Care, which found that art therapy reduced anxiety, pain symptoms, fatigue, depression and feelings of sadness in study participants.

A study published in Geriatrics & Gerontology International showed that coloring and drawing improved the quality of life and vitality of people with mild Alzheimer’s disease in

But you don’t need to be ill to enjoy the benefits. Coloring is a social and personal care activity like meditation, knitting, yoga and coffee klatches. It lets you focus on the now and free your mind from unwanted thoughts, making it a fun way to practice self-care.

Learn more about managing stress.

How to Add Coloring to Your Life

You can always grab your coloring book while you watch TV or sip your morning coffee. If you want to find new ways to incorporate this activity into your routine, try these tips:

  • Make your own. Design your own coloring pages, using black ink and good quality paper. You can either make copies when you’re done to share with others, or just go straight to coloring it in. You can even use a program like ReallyColor to turn your own photos into coloring pages.
  • Experiment. Try coloring with different implements, like colored pencils, markers, ink, pastels and crayons. See which you like best and how they look different. Does coloring with one type of material make you feel better than with another type? Treat it like a science experiment.
  • Color on the plane. Bring a coloring book onto the airplane. The airplane trays are small, making it difficult to play games or set up a full-size laptop, but they’re the perfect size for a coloring book. The meditative aspect might make the flight more relaxing for those who find flying stressful.
  • Coloring club. Create your own coloring group, much like a book club. The options for whom to include are endless. Invite friends and neighbors, start a newcomers group for your town or advertise a meet-up at the library.

Have you tried coloring to relieve stress? What did you think?

Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.

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