Color Your Stress Away

Allie Kelsey, Viewpoints Editor

Are you feeling overwhelmed or under stress? Have you tried to get rid of your stress or anxiety and it is not working? grab a colored pencil and try this! Therapeutic coloring can be relaxful, provide comfort, and alleviate stress.

Therapeutic coloring has become popular over the past few years, starting in Europe and gaining popularity here in the United States. Research shows that it can decrease stress and anxiety, as well as have healthy benefits for people that are battling illness of any kind. This form of coloring can actually drastically decrease physical and emotional suffering. Although it has gained popularity in the past few years, it is not a new concept. Adult coloring began in the 1960s, but was actually used in a more sarcastic manner in order to express displeasure with the world, work, politics, etc. Adult coloring now is being used as a form of art therapy. It is a good way to relax and you are able to avoid the stress that comes along with other forms of relaxation like a yoga class or mediation group because you do not have to be somewhere by a certain time. You can relax in the comfort of your own home, color when you have the time, and go back to it when you have the time, so no pressure! Therapeutic coloring is fun and colorful. It is even enjoyable for you and your friends to do together!

Besides being a way to relieve stress, you can enjoy your finished products by displaying them in your home. Today, there are so many kinds of books to purchase, all leading to a fabulous piece of artwork. Books can be geometric patterns, mandalas, nature themed, flowers, owls, the ocean and its creatures, Native American themes, and more! The price range for these books can be anywhere from $5-$20, but many value packs can be found. You will also need colored pencils or pens, depending on your preference. Some packs come as a set and include the colored pencils. These coloring books can be found in so many places including bookstores, Target, Walmart, Amazon, online sites, and more!

School, extra curricular activities, a job, family, friends, medical issues, and the state of the world today in general, just to name a few culprits stress you out. However, thanks to therapeutic coloring you can keep a controlled balance of the stress present in your life.

No time for this? I have always found time in my busy schedule to do this because that is how much it has worked and helped me. Some of my friends even started to do it with me because they found it to be as helpful as I do. Because the pictures are so detailed, you cannot help but focus and be mindful of what you are doing. This mindfulness helps to drain stress or anxiety because if you concentrate intensely, you cannot think the overwhelming thoughts trapped in your mind. I have found it helpful to use therapeutic coloring when I am under a lot of stress with school work, worried about a family member or friend, or coping with my own medical issues.

I have a wide variety of books and coloring utensils, and feel a dramatic decrease in my stress level when I break out my books. I like to display my work in my room. I like to date and sign my work. I also enjoy the pleasure it brings others when I share my work. I have shared my work with family, workers that my family works with, and friends. I am not coloring for others, I am coloring for me, but it is another great benefit!

In a technology-based world, this type of activity could not have gained popularity at a better time! Social media, news reports, constant messaging, and other forms of technology can be extremely overstimulating and it is essential that we recognize the need sometimes to just unplug from the world and get lost in a mindful activity, such as therapeutic coloring.