BY EVELYN GOYETTE
Personally, I am a high-stress individual. I am an over-thinker and I regularly stress about even the smallest of things going on in my life. From small assignments to big life decisions, it can be difficult to remain stress-free. With the stress of classes, friend groups, and personal life, I have found coloring to be an extremely useful tool for diffusing these feelings. Clinical psychologist Scott M. Bea, PsyD, says, “It is very much like a meditative exercise.” By taking a step out of your mind and focusing your energy on something else, you go into an almost meditative state that can have a healthy effect on the body. According to Joel Bobby, psychotherapist and clinical social worker, “This [coloring] can improve sleep and fatigue while decreasing body aches, heart rate, respiration, and feelings of depression and anxiety.”To help me, something I have always done since I was a little kid is coloring. It is an easy activity and I often find myself getting lost in the process, forgetting about my worries and my stresses.
It is such an easy thing to do that requires little effort or energy. I found that it helps me to focus on the present and center myself in the moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. It is a mindless task that anyone of any age could participate in and enjoy.
No matter who you are or how much experience you have with art or coloring, I believe this would be a fantastic activity for any person to try, whether stressed or searching for a new hobby.
With that being said, here are some tips on how to make your coloring experience successful. First, make sure the coloring sheet or book you are using contains something you have an interest in, be it shapes like a mandala or a character or picture of nature; ensure that you have an interest and a liking for the image that you are bringing to life.
Make sure that you focus while you are coloring. Your mind is likely to wander, but do your best to focus on the picture in front of you, rather than the stresses of your everyday life. Listen to your breathing when you are coloring, making sure that you are taking steady full breaths that will leave you feeling calmer and less stressed after your coloring session.
Finally, try to let go of your expectations and personal judgments when you are coloring. There are no rules that come with coloring, so you can make it your own and be as neat or as messy as you want to be.
“It is hard to screw up coloring, and, even if you do, there is no real consequence. Adult coloring can be a wonderful escape, rather than a demanding test of our capacities,” said Doctor Bea.
Coloring is meant to be a pleasurable activity, so most of all, make sure that you are having fun.