Thursday, September 23, 2021

Adults using coloring to manage stress

Coloring has become increasingly popular for adults who want to relieve a little stress. According to the American Psychological Association, 47 percent of all Americans say that they are concerned with the amount of stress in their lives.

This trend first became popular in 2015. Vox reported that in late 2015, the adult coloring book trend was the hottest in publishing. Coloring book sales skyrocketed from one million being sold in 2014 to 12 million being sold in 2015.

PSUC Counselor-in-training at the Student Health and Counseling Services Nick Kelley knows why this way of stress relief is popular. “We use coloring as children and that was a less stressful time for a lot of us,” Kelley said, “Using coloring as a stress reliever goes along with a lot of other trends like mindfulness and play therapy. It is almost like what is old is new.”

The answer is simple. It takes the mind off of what is bothering people. Coloring utilizes areas of the brain that enhance focus and concentration according to the Huffington Post.

“Coloring can be very helpful in quieting the mind,” Kelley said. “It uses both the creative and logical parts of the mind, which can help you focus and take your mind off things that are worrying you. You’re not focusing on other stressful things in your life, you’re focusing on what colors you want to use and how you want to use them.”

Public relations major and junior Kelli Smith, has been using coloring for stress relief since freshman year. “My mom actually bought me an adult coloring book for Christmas,” Smith said. “At first, I thought it was stupid but when I actually took the time to care about the coloring I felt zoned in.”

If having a coloring book and colored pencils on you at all times isn’t an option, a coloring app can be an alternative. One app that Madison Derella, social work major, and junior, uses is Zen: Coloring Books for Adults.

“I enjoy using the app more than a real coloring book,” Derella said. “With the app, I don’t have to focus on staying in the lines. I can focus more on what colors I want to use.”
If someone is unsure of coloring, Nick Kelley recommends just giving it a try.

“I would say for most people it is definitely better than nothing,” Kelley said. “It can be helpful for some people. Of course to some people coloring is not good for them and if you try it and if you like it, keep doing it.”

There are many other ways to relieve stress that is just as simple as coloring.

“Taking a walk, listening to music, taking a relaxing bath, watching something funny on YouTube, or talking with your friends can all be helpful,” Kelley said. “Basically, find things that can help you take your mind off of whatever is worrying you or concerning you.”

Email Tracey Fox at

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