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Coloring as an adult

Enter a room of typically energetic grade-school students at arts-and-crafts time and you’ll notice a pleasant peacefulness. Left with patterns and pencils, kids can color for stretches of time with focus on their activity.

A refreshing contrast from the busyness of life, this kindergartener pastime has recently been embraced by more and more adults to relieve stress, promote creativity — and some even find coloring to function as a form of meditation.

While art-making has been shown to be beneficial to boosting mental health — a 2015 study from the Mayo Clinic found that creating art lessened cognitive decline — many people find coloring in preset patterns to be a simple entry point to discovering a new hobby.

Below are testimonials from our readers on how coloring has made a positive impact on their lives, plus links to several coloring books if you are looking for a fun way to keep stress in check this year.

“I started [coloring] about six months ago, due to job, government, and life stress. I usually go to my computer to distress, but one day my eye caught this post on Facebook about adult coloring. It piqued my interested, and I started doing more research and the floodgates opened. I love the creativity as you let go. All of a sudden, family members picked it up themselves, and once we realized it, we decided to get together [to color]. We made one rule: No texting or checking the phone when coloring. Some of our meaningful conversations happened when we sat and colored and communicated about past life stories and current topics. The best part was so many of our generations (sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins, and our grandmother) were bonding. We’re looking forward to our next gathering. I recommend it to all families and friends. I’ve shared adult coloring with my boss at my work and plan to have an event for team-building and reducing stress.” — Theresa M.

“I have been [coloring] and it is a mental relief and truly soothes the mind. Promoting creativity is just a bonus, but it also uses different parts of your brain that you don’t normally use on a day-to-day basis. It also allows your brain to function at a higher level — it’s a win-win across the board.” — Kaizen G.

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