Ana Barrios / Contributing Writer
As a child, coloring was my favorite hobby because it was fun and relaxing to use different colors on black and white pictures. Coloring is always a great activity for children to express themselves as it allows them to color in images the way they want to based on their imagination. Coloring is also a consoling method parents use to calm down their children if they are hyperactive or if the child is feeling impatient. However, whoever said that coloring was just for children? Even when we have all grown into adults, coloring is a creative activity we can still do to relieve stress.
Life isn’t easy when you’re an adult as we all have responsibilities such as school or work. Having a strict work schedule can lead towards stress, which can lead to a lack of sleep, an unhealthy diet and anxiety towards completing tasks immediately.
Nevertheless, many methods have been suggested by experts to help people in managing their stress and to relax when completing important tasks. Some of the most popular methods are exercising, doing creative activities and yoga. However, many would be surprised that coloring is also suggested as a way for adults to relieve stress.
Coloring helps to soothe the mind by stimulating areas of the brain linked to motor skills, the senses and creativity. In the early 20th century, a psychologist named Carl G. Jüng was one of the first psychologists to recommend coloring as a relaxation technique. He came to this conclusion by experimenting with mandalas – decorative concentric circles originating from India which takes great focus in designing as they are meant to be intricately detailed.
According to psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala, coloring activates diverse areas of the brain’s cerebral hemispheres by assimilating areas of the cerebral cortex relating to vision and fine motor skills. She also stated that coloring assists in lowering the activity of the amygdala, the part of the brain tasked with the purpose of controlling our emotion – it’s this part of the brain that becomes affected by stress. The amygdala is calm when we when we focus on coloring because it keeps us from thinking about our worries.
Coloring has also become popular in different countries as well – becoming bestsellers the U.S., France and the United Kingdom. A French publisher by the name of Hachette has published a collection of twenty volumes of coloring books, titled Art-Thérapie, with a variety of drawings such as butterflies, flowers, cupcakes, graffiti and psychedelic patterns. Coloring books have also trended in Spain as the Spanish cartoonist, Antonio Fraguas, published one called Coloréitor.
The most popular coloring book in the U.S. is Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford and has made top-selling lists, leading the author to produce two more books for her fans to enjoy. There are many different coloring books published by other authors or as magazine issues that you can find at your local Barnes and Noble Booksellers store, Michaels Arts & Crafts or Hobby Lobby. The internet is another way to find pictures for you to color and relax as well.
If you ever feel stressed out over completing assignments for school or tasks for your job, try coloring to relieve yourself of any pressures. A drawing does not have to be complex to color away your stress; a simple drawing like a flower will do the trick in helping you to feel more relaxed.
The main purpose of coloring is to unwind and organize your thoughts by focusing on coloring a design instead of constant worries. Let your imagination run wild by using various kinds of media such as markers, crayons or colored pencils. Be unique as you color your stress away and begin to feel at ease while coloring a picture or a pattern with intricate designs the way you like.
[Image from Flickr, re-sized]