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5 Ways Coloring Can Help You Relax

Whether you're an artist or not, you probably share in the memories of millions of people when it comes to coloring as a child. From an early age, kids are handed crayons and coloring books to express themselves and just have fun. But as the years pass, most of us toss aside coloring pages for spreadsheets, and colored pencils for ballpoint pens. We just don't have time.

Or do we?

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If you've spent any time on Earth in the last few years (hint hint- you have!), then you have been exposed to the adult coloring phenomenon. Business professionals, parents, singles and anyone who can hold a colored pencil have been flocking to art stores and buying Amazon out of coloring books in record numbers. As it turns out, coloring offers more than just a chance to sit down and stay between the lines. It has some amazing health and emotional benefits, and here are just five of them.

1. Reduces Stress & Relieves Anxiety

Sitting down for some one on one time with you and a coloring book is good for your mind. By focusing on just coloring, you are allowing your brain to relax and not compete with random anxious thoughts. Your amygdala (the part of your brain responsible for decision-making, emotional reactions, and memory processing) has time to rest and thus, you have less anxiety. Amazingly, research has found that the coloring of mandalas (round images with detailed patterns inside) literally helps relieve anxiety- more than just freeform coloring on blank sheets of paper.

2. Helps Bring Focus

Coloring a detailed adult coloring page requires focus. By training your brain to complete complex designs, you are directing all your efforts on just that one activity- and not all the other stressors in your life. Even for just a few minutes, you are allowing mindfulness to overtake you and your brain to have complete focus. Even when your body is telling you it would rather lounge on the couch for a few hours, try giving coloring a whirl. You'll be pleasantly surprised!

3. Break From Technology

Technology has the ability to make our lives much easier in many ways, but it's also an added stressor on our daily lives. Being constantly attached to our email and work brings obvious stress, but taking a break for some coloring brings relaxation. Put down the phone, turn off the TV and the computer and just enjoy the raw beauty of a pencil going to paper. Your brain (and eyes) will thank you.

4. Expression Of Your Creativity

Not everyone is a Picasso, and we tend to feel that unless we produce something magnificent that we aren't worthy of creating art. But that's not true. We all possess artistic abilities and coloring brings out our personalities, with our choices of colors and patterns. It's good for the mind to allow the right side of our brain to put in a little overtime, and you'll be amazed how proud you can be of a simple, completed coloring page! Perhaps one of the best parts about coloring is that it knows no bounds and can be enjoyed by anyone, young or old.

5. It's Fun

As adults, fun often takes a back seat to careers and other responsibilities. Somewhere along the way, fun became a luxury and not a basic need.  But we need to have fun just as much as we need hard work in our lives. And unlike many hobbies, coloring is an activity you can do anywhere. It's easy to keep a small set of pencils in your bag and enjoy on a lunch break or while waiting in the pickup line at your kids' school. Whether you find joy in a buying a fresh set of colored pencils, cracking open a new coloring book or creating something beautiful, it's good for the body, mind, and soul to just have fun!

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