New Relaxation Trend for Older Adults

New Relaxation Trend for Older Adults

The Latest Anti-Stress
Trend: Coloring Books
for Adults

Heard about

the new relaxation trend for older adults? You don’t need a yoga mat or soothing scents or a Tibetan drum. You just need a box of Crayolas or colored pencils and a coloring book for grown-ups.

That’s right. It’s good-bye SpongeBob…hello Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. These beautiful detailed black-and-white drawings of plants, flowers, trees, animals and birds by UK illustrator  Johanna Basford  are topping best-seller lists.

It’s a full-blown trend. There’s Adult Coloring Book; Stress Relieving Patterns, Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation and The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People. You can find adult coloring book series from the publishers Creative Haven and Skyhorse Publishing.

Even Marvel, the comic book and movie giant, has released an Age of Ultron coloring book (based on the company’s block-buster Avengers series) for adults, followed by Little Marvel by Skottie Young Coloring Book (featuring line art of award-winning illustrator and cartoonist Skottie Young’s comic book covers and interior pages) and Civil War Coloring Book (with iconic superheroes Captain American and Iron Man) in early 2016.

What should we make of this newest publishing phenomenon? Is coloring for grown-ups an affordable, effective therapeutic pastime that reduces health-sapping stress? A cool new way to realease your inner child? Or just a fad with no real health benefits?

Civil War Uniforms Coloring Book (Dover Fashion Coloring Book)


Let’s cut to the chase.

While no health studies have specifically examined coloring books for adults, the approach makes sense.

Coloring  combines creative and  aesthetic elements with fine motor skills, and that engages different parts of your brain in ways that can be relaxing and satisfying and can enhance your attention. Just as with knitting, coloring can be distracting in a way that gets you away from your worries and neurotic thinking—and that can be very therapeutic. Like meditation, coloring is a mindful activity that can help you focus. It distracts you, but just enough.

Having a creative hobby like coloring might EVEN enhance your performance at work. In a pair of studies published  in Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, researchers from San Francisco State University examined the relationships between non-work creative activities (such as doing art or crafts, writing poetry, playing music and the like) and performance-related behaviors at work.

They found that people who engaged in creative activities outside work gained a sense of mastery and control and experienced relaxation, which helped relieve their stress. What’s more, their colleagues reported that people with these hobbies showed more creativity and more of a team spirit at work.

So go ahead—release your inner artist. Stay in the lines…or be a rebel and color outside them. These are not your elementary school coloring books—they can get pretty intricate and engrossing. Plus, when the crayons or colored pencils are put away, you might even have something worthy of your refrigerator door.


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