Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Adult Coloring Books: Patterns for Stress Relief

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Adult Coloring Books: Patterns for Stress Relief

Article excerpt

ADULT COLORING BOOKS: PATTERNS FOR STRESS RELIEF

Coloring books used to keep us occupied as children. But now coloring books for adults have emerged as the new trend. Adult coloring books are more abstract, require more dexterity, and contain calming subject matter created in intricate patterns. They are designed to provide a time out, so to speak, when adults can spend time in a focused, creative activity that can have a calming effect.

Patterned coloring books, although different than traditional expressive art therapy using freehand drawings for interpretation by a professional, can be considered a form of art therapy that anyone experiencing the signs and symptoms of stress can easily do. This mindfulness activity keeps you focused in the present moment on a task and gives you a break from the chatter of worry, fear and anxiety that can cause stress.

We all need a break so our body, mind and spirit can recover from stress. Because what relaxes people is so varied, there are a variety of coloring books to choose from so that each person may find one that is meaningful to them. There are no rules for coloring, no need for perfection. Just choose a quiet place and time, get your coloring book and pencils or choice of media, start coloring and relax! However, if you feel yourself becoming too focused and tense while coloring (it happened to me), just take a few deep breaths to return to a relaxed state and continue coloring.

Coloring requires selection from a variety of media: crayons, colored pencils, pastels, marker pens or watercolor pens. The choice depends on your comfort. I would recommend starting with colored pencils, as they are easy to use and pencils can be sharpened to keep a nice point for small areas. Marker pens would be another easy-to-use choice. Just pick a color and begin. Another tip for some of the mandalas or repeat patterns is to choose colors for your design before beginning. If you have children, you probably have some of these tools close at hand. If not, they can be obtained at any discount store with little expense.

Color Me Calm, by Lacy Mucklow and illustrated by Angela Porter, offers a variety of coloring categories in one book: mandalas, flora and fauna, water and wooded scenes, geometric and natural patterns, each in its own section with examples fully or partially colored as a reference - 100 selections in all. It also includes an introduction on coloring books for adults and a few coloring tips. …

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