Talking to my aunt the other day, I asked her what she was doing and she said, “coloring in my coloring book.” My first instinct was to laugh because that’s what we do when we talk but she said she had had a stressful week and was doing some coloring to calm down her nerves. Then I saw a Facebook post of a cousin who apparently colors her way to serenity as well. In the back of my head, I know I’ve heard coloring is good for anxiety and stress relief. In fact, a couple months ago I picked up a rainbow pack of sharpie markers thinking up any excuse to buy the pretty colored markers and stress relief was one of those excuses I gave myself. I dabbled a little in some free hand drawing and ended up making some cute (if I don’t say so myself) thank you cards for some girlfriends. Consequently I did feel good using these markers. It reminded me of the joy I used to get coloring and drawing as a kid. So, I started Googling coloring and stress relief and it appears that I am behind the trend that has some adult coloring books on bestseller lists in France and England.

Once you start learning about a new topic you tend to hear and see it everywhere. A few weeks later, my therapist invited me to an anxiety and stress relief-coloring workshop with a well know artist in Malaga. I was too busy making 200+ jars of jam at the time (which is a story for another time). When the next workshop comes up I hope to be in attendance to learn more about this subject.

Psychologists recommend coloring for benefits such as aiding in sleep, increasing attention spans, managing stress and accessing creativity; all things everyone in today’s world could use. One of the first psychologists to use coloring as a relaxation technique was Carl G Jüng in the early 20th century. The repetitive actions can help strengthen your focus and easily shift your attention back to a relaxed state. Coloring has also been talked about as a form of active meditation. Buddhists teach that everything that we do can be a form of meditation. It’s really all about enjoying and being in the present moment.

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I encourage everyone to try it and see if it works for you. You can download different mandalas to color in here http://www.colormandala.com,steal a page of a child’s coloring book or if you get ambitious, you can purchase your own adult coloring book. Some books that have hit best seller lists include, Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford's titles, "Secret Garden" and "Enchanted Forest. So grab a page, some crayons, colored pencils or pens, put on some relaxing music and let your creativity run free. Let me know how it goes!