A Few Minutes with Coloring Books to Destress Your Day

The trend of adult coloring books was on the rise this past year, but unlike some trends that disappear as quickly as they appear, this stress management approach seems to be here to stay because it is backed by science. Few people outside of art therapy may ever consider the amygdalae of one’s brain and a box of crayons together in one single thought, but more and more people are learning that this is actually a partnership on paper. Adult coloring books are hailed as the new hit stress management approach. Intricate and tidy lines defining a design await the deft hand of an adult. 

How It Works

The amygdalae, dedicated to decision-making, memory, and emotional responses, are soothed by the methodical approach to such coloring and the brain reaps the rewards. Of course, the simple act of coloring also evokes memories of childhood and running through the grass barefoot, drinking from the garden hose, or the scent of crayon wax on freshly pressed paper. Mmm.

Why It Works

The medley of brain activity spurs on both logical and creative play. The repetition of coloring small sections between defined black lines is satisfying and meditative, but each colored-in space is also an accomplishment. That small successful completion is especially calming to someone stressed about a complex project, difficult day, or overwhelming obstacle. 

Make It Work for You

With the recent rise in popularity of adult coloring, there are many coloring book options available for purchase. Searching Google Images produces countless free printable options as well. Whatever your preference, focus on something you’d find relaxing and enjoyable. Though crayons are nice, many adult coloring books have intricate designs that warrant using sharpened colored pencils.

Where To Buy

These days, the local bookstore will carry adult colouring books. From Outlander designs to Harry Potter motifs to travel themes to Dr Who time travel pages, you can find your interest in the black lines on the page. I myself have a basic abstract flower one as well as the Secret Paris one. BookDepository has a wide selection as does Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Be sure to purchase a set of coloured pencils to accompany your book, either for yourself or as a gift.

I tried it and found that including five minutes of coloring with a short walk around and drink of water made for a refreshing and efficient 10-minute break. It also felt both like a mini vacation for the brain. Where would we be without ways to manage our own stress and to self-soothe in fast-paced environments? What is your favorite color crayon?

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