Coloring Outside the Lines

Remember when you were a kid and someone sat you down at a table with a handful of crayons?   With that one simple act they set your imagination free, and you could color the world any way you saw fit.  If you chose to make a person’s face purple; super!  If you colored the sun bright green; perfect!  And who cared if your trees were pink and you never colored inside the lines?  It was fantastic, wasn’t it?  Having the freedom to express ourselves, to color outside the lines, to be creative, different, and unique was so very important to us as kids. 

But as we grow and mature we stop coloring.  We put away our crayons for things that are more challenging, necessary, demanding—because after all, we’re much too mature for coloring anyway.  Right?  Well, not according to psychologists.

Several recent studies have shown that coloring (for adults) is every bit as beneficial as meditation or a short nap.  That’s why so many adults have returned back to this simple practice.  It stirs their creativity and imagination.  More importantly, adults have discovered coloring as an exceptional means of relieving tensions and anxiety.  That’s why 6 of the top 20 selling books on Amazon are adult coloring books.  

Psychologist Ben Michaelis notes that, “There is a long history of people coloring for mental health reasons.  Psychologist Carl Jung, a pioneer in psychology and psychotherapy used to try to get his patients to color in mandalas (Indian symbols with intricate designs and meaning) at the turn of the last century, as a way of getting people to focus and allow the subconscious to let go.  Now we know it has a lot of other stress-busting qualities as well.”

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, worried, sad, anxious, or just need some creativity back in your life, then it’s time to pull out the paper and crayons (markers, or colored pencils work too!) and start coloring outside the lines once again.  It’s freeing and healing, and a must-try for busy adults everywhere.

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