Have you been bitten by the adult coloring bug yet?  If not, read on! 

Coloring is fast becoming a cherished creative practice that helps you artfully soothe stress.
According to the New York Times, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post and New York Magazine, to name a few, coloring for adults is now officially a craze.  Recently, 7 out of 20 books on Amazon’s bestseller list were adult coloring books.

What’s all the fuss about?

Research shows coloring actually offers a world of benefits. It can “lift the mood, reduce anxiety and relieve stress,” Atlanta-based art therapist Susanne Fincher said in a recent CNN post.

“Art making is a powerful intervention,” Fincher wrote. “Neuro-scientific research has shown that through the use of art therapy, the human brain can physically change, grow, and rejuvenate.”

Why coloring works for me as a stress reducer

In my younger days I smoked, drank to excess, indulged in expensive retail therapy and isolated myself in order to cope with stress, all of which are habits I’ve since given up. (Note:  I didn’t give up overeating, which I continue to do when I’m stressed.)

Recently I read an interesting article about adult coloring books. I’m always on the lookout for fun new things to do — especially if they are relaxing. As it turns out, this “new” thing is an old thing I used to do as a kid.

These days I’m joining millions of other stressed out adults who are using coloring as the creative alternative to unhealthy vices in reducing stress. I find it’s particularly soothing for seniors because, while we certainly have stresses as we age, we also have more time for creative pastimes like coloring.

        It’s inexpensive and the tools are readily available.

          As with anything, you can spend a fortune, but it’s 
          not necessary. Want to color animals, mandalas, 
          flowers, cats or more detailed designs?  You’ll find 
          an adult coloring book, many under $10, at Amazon.
          I’m already an expert.

          Coloring is like riding a bike – we never forget how 
          to do it. It’s right there waiting for us whenever we 
          decide to pick it up again. Only these days I don’t 
          force myself to use the ‘correct’ color or to stay in the 
          lines if I don’t feel like it.
          No one is going to steal my crayons.

          I’ve enjoyed doing it by myself as well as with others. 
          I love knowing I don’t have to share my coloring pens 
          or wait for someone else to be done with the exact 
          color I’m wanting to use.
          It takes me back to my childhood.

          Don’t you remember how much fun it was? Close your 
          eyes and remember what it was like, the feel and smell 
          of the crayon, the blank picture in front of you, waiting 
          to be enhanced YOUR way.
          It works!

          It’s entertaining and calms me. I’m sure to carve out 
          time in my day or week to do it.

Coloring is a gateway drug.

My first attempts!

In addition to regular coloring, I’ve recently tried Zentangling, a method of creating beautiful images from structured patterns. 

Zentangling is just as much fun and calms me like coloring. It increases focus and creativity and provides artistic satisfaction and an increased sense of personal well-being. You can find out more about Zentangling here and here.

Why not give it a try?

Why take blood pressure pills or indulge in an unhealthy vice in order to cope with stress? Coloring and Zentangling have provided me with hours of stress-free relaxation. 

Give coloring or one of its relatives a try and let the color and lines flow!

Contact Antonia at Antonia@TheJoyofAgingGratefully.com