Why Coloring Can Help Reduce Stress

Your boss shot down your request to work from home. Your child twisted his ankle in baseball try-outs. The dog had an accident on your newly-shampooed rug. When stress turns your world into shades of grey, break out the coloring books and begin to color. The act of coloring is a great stress-reducer, says Gina M. Geremia, PhD, a clinical psychologist in East Greenwich, RI. “The act of coloring resurrects favorable childhood memories, those from a time when we experienced greater fun, freedom, and pleasure than we perhaps do in our adult lives,” says Geremia.

But the benefits of coloring don’t end there. Coloring can provide a much-needed distraction from other difficulties in your life. “While selecting what to draw and what shapes and colors to use, the brain has something pleasant to focus upon rather than one’s stressors,” states Geremia. While your life as a working parent might be one of structure and organization, “coloring and doodling also enable uninhibited creativity, using the brain in uncharacteristic ways that may be thwarted in much of adult daily life.” And since there is no right or wrong way to color, you don’t have to worry about “getting it right” as you do with so many other things in your life. In fact, the very act of coloring can help relax your respiration and slow your heart rate, bringing you to a calmer state of mind—and body.

So the next time you come home frustrated from work, crank out the crayons and draw your way to a happier life.

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