Coloring Books as Stress Relievers

coloringIt sounds paradoxical but I and many sixty somethings are trying our hardest to relax. Yoga, meditation, tai chi, pills, nature sounds, long walks, counseling, and, of course vacation therapy. Relaxing or trying to relax is actually a very time-consuming, anxiety-producing, and elusive process. So…if a new relaxation technique is introduced, especially one that hearkens back to a simpler time, we’ll all get on-board. Why not? What’s there to lose?

Recently, I have dipped my toe, metaphorically speaking, into the new adult coloring book trend that experts say is guaranteed to aid and abet relaxation. According to Nelson Bookscan, in 2015, an estimated 12 million adult coloring books were sold in the U.S. Twelve million plus one if you count the one I purchased called Color me Cluttered: A Coloring Book to Transform Everyday Chaos into Art. I also bought a box of Woodless Colour Pencils in 24 vibrant colors from Chartpak, Inc.

I colored for about 20 minutes on 4 consecutive days. On Friday, I joined a group of adult colorists at a drop- in session at the public library.

Preliminary results:

  1. Coloring with a group was fun but I wish there had been snacks.
  2. I found it challenging to stay in the lines and create patches of smooth color.
  3. I had to focus in order to make decisions about which colors to choose. My mind was free from worry for the interval that I was engaged in my coloring tasks.
  4. I got to be a little contrary/creative as I colored skin purple and peacocks black.
  5. According to psychologists, coloring gave my amygdala a much needed (though temporary) rest; helped stave off dementia and bolstered my organizing and problem solving skills. This remains to be seen!                         To be continued.



Categories: wisdom

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