coloring colored pencils

Coloring is a great way to unlock your creativity and de-stress. Image: @Doug88888 via Flickr CC.

When I was growing up, coloring was one of my favorite things to do when I needed to engage in an activity to take my mind off of stressful things and anxious feelings. In fact, coloring and doodling are still activities that bring me a sense of relief when I’ve hard day and need to unwind.

From the sounds of it, many adults enjoy coloring, and studies have shown that the creative activity offers many health benefits that are great for people of all ages. Writes Ellen Santos for The Huffington Post,

Coloring is an activity that we tend to associate with children. As we grow older, we put aside our crayons and colored pencils in favor of more respectable writing utensils like pens and highlighters. However, it turns out coloring can be beneficial for adults – namely for its distressing power.

Santos points out that coloring promotes quietness and wellness, as well as stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses, and creativity. Many adults use coloring as a relaxation technique, and as a way to take a break from more analytical work in order to refocus. Coloring is certainly a popular way to de-stress, and although it seems like a somewhat juvenile thing to do, art therapists around the world have adopted it as a way to treat patients of all ages.

Companies have even begun making coloring books for adults. These can be found in art therapy programs, online, and in art supplies stores. Santos notes that “In countries like France or the UK, coloring books for adults are bestsellers,” of how the practice of coloring to reduce anxiety is a far-reaching thing. Mandala-inspired coloring books in particular have been considered the most effective in helping adults de-stress while coloring circular, symmetrical illustrations.

So the next time you’re feeling stressed, I definitely suggest investing in an adult coloring book, a fresh new set of colored pencils, and taking a moment to embrace your inner child. You’ll be amazed at how relaxing filling in an illustration can be. Who knows, you might make coloring part of your regular self-care routine!