Coloring for Calmness

 

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Everywhere you look these days, there is a book, a smart phone application, or an article about coloring for stress relief. Coloring books have been for kiddos for as long as I can remember. It all started to change when I had children. Seven years ago, I remember being at a gymnastics meet and seeing a young mom and her daughter coloring together. I thought to myself, “That looks like a lot of fun.”  Simple pleasures from childhood have come back now that I am a mother.

Fast forward to 2015 and the coloring book craze exploded. Coloring for adults has become quite popular and for good reason. Therapeutically, it does calm people down. It helps people recenter and focus.  It has so many positive effects on the brain. According to Landa (2014), research has shown that drawing releases dopamine, which lead to feelings of pleasure. According to Gloria Ayala as cited in Santos (2014), the relaxation from coloring decreases the activity of the amygdala, which is linked to emotions due to stress. I love to hear adults enjoying this. One of my clients who had panic attacks found great relief in being able to color when she felt an attack coming on.  Apparently, Jung was one of the first psychologists to use coloring, and did so with mandalas, as a way to induce relaxation (Santos, 2014).

I love coloring too and so does my daughter. We have really enjoyed coloring mandalas printed off of the web and also a fun mandala coloring application on the smartphone. See my creation above in which I used the application, Colorfy. It is really fun. Making something beautiful is really calming and when it comes to coloring, it is really easy. After a very hard day that was emotionally charged for me, I colored the above picture. It was a time to calm down, breathe, and create a beautiful picture.

So, in summary, coloring and art are great for inducing relaxation and calm. They are an important skill/resource for all, including therapists since we are not immune to stress just because we teach techniques to reduce it. Grab your favorite coloring design and colored pencils or even a smartphone application and start coloring away your stress.  I am eager to hear your thoughts about drawing/art. Have any of you found coloring/art to be therapeutic? When do you color? What do you love about it? I look forward to hearing from you.

As always thanks for stopping by.

Best, Kerry

References

Colorfy: Coloring Book for Adults-Best Free App. (2017, February 25).

          Retrieved from: http://www.amazon.com/Colorfy-Coloring-Book-Adults-Free/dp/B01248YO8E

Landa, R.  (2014). Print. Draw yourself happy: Drawing, creativity, and your brain. Retrieved from

          http://www.printmag.com/featured/draw-yourself-happy-drawing-creativity-your-brain/

Santos, E. (2014). The Huffington Post. Coloring isn’t just for kids. It can actually help adults combat stress.

          Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/13/coloring-for-stress_n_5975832.html