AS SEEN ON TV: If you’re looking for a new way to unwind, spending time with a box of crayons and a coloring book could do the trick. KTVN interviewed Renown Behavioral Health Therapist Judith Primm-Shimahara on the growing trend of art therapy for adults. Learn more about the benefits of pursuing this childhood pastime as an adult.
Routines, deadlines, errands and social activities — there’s no doubt about it, life can be hectic. If you’re feeling like you’re getting pulled in multiple directions and you don’t have enough time to decompress, it’s time to put down your phone and pick up some crayons.
If you haven’t heard, one of the most beloved pastimes is now the newest way to relax. Adult coloring books are flying off the shelves, being marketed to stressed-out, overworked adults who can benefit from a little zen. Recently, three titles topped Amazon’s 10 bestsellers list. And for good reason.
“Coloring for adults is a soothing, grounding exercise,” Renown Behavioral Health Therapist Judith Primm-Shimahara says. “While not only transporting someone to their childhood, it also allows their adult self free-range to use their imaginations to choose color combinations. Since coloring books have templates, those people who may be anxious about ‘not being artistic’ are able to relax within the lines.”
Benefits of Adult Coloring Books
Returning to this childhood favorite doesn’t mean coloring pictures of Barbie or G.I. Joe to calm your nerves. These adult coloring books are actually specifically designed to be more complex than those created for children, often focusing on mindfulness and meditation. However, the intent is the same.
“Coloring keeps us in the moment and focused on what we are doing, two main components of mindfulness. It’s a very meditative activity,” says Judith.
In our frequently fast-paced, tech-driven world, being quiet and calm while coloring helps you unplug and offers you a peek back into your childhood.
“Sometimes coloring in a coloring book brings back fond memories from childhood, but it can also be an opportunity to do the coloring differently: either to master coloring within the lines or to feel free to color outside the lines,” says Nancy Podewils, a Renown Health Outpatient Therapist and Coordinator of Sierra Watercolor Society’s Art Angels Program. “How and what a person chooses to color can also be a window into their thought and mood.”
The therapeutic benefits of art are far from new. “I can attest to the power of art to help people focus, express themselves creatively, and have fun!” says Nancy. “I have a client who draws, colors and paints pictures to give her grandchildren. Drawing, coloring and painting fills her time and makes her feel that she is doing something meaningful for her grandchildren.”
But don’t worry if you’re just jumping on the bandwagon now. Publishers say the trend isn’t slowing down. Several coloring book creators are signing on for additional titles in the year ahead and in the meantime, there are plenty of titles available through online sellers or the crafting hub, Pinterest.
If colored pencils and crayons aren’t for you, there are other playful ways to relieve stress and anxiety.
“Play dough is also an inexpensive medium for a similar stress reducing home activity. The ability to use other senses sight, smell, and touch helps us with mindfulness and focus to decrease stress,” suggests Judith.
Ready to Unwind? Try Some of These Adult Coloring Designs
Get your creative (and stress-free) juices flowing by filling in these designs with a rainbow of colors you like.
If these designs don’t inspire you to pull out your box of colors, check out the wide variety of free coloring pages from the Facebook group Coloring Pages for Adults.