Color the Pain Away: Why Adult Coloring is Awesome

I just turned 26. One of the first things I asked for on my birthday? No, not free healthcare, but it was on the list.
A coloring book.


Adult coloring books can be found in nearly every craft store these days. The growing interest in coloring for adults started sometime in 2015, but has only gained momentum in the months to follow.

Adult coloring books aren’t (necessarily) nudes, but they are a more “grown up” version of those big negative-space Dora the Explorer coloring pages the kids in your life scribble on. These all-grown-up versions have smaller, more intricate designs.  Everything has a pattern, and there’s nary an area that you could easily fill with a big chisel tip marker.

No, you’re going to want some colored pencils, skinny markers, and lovely gel pens for this.


I have an acquaintance whom I’ve observed posting photos of her #selfcare mandalas and robot invasion coloring pages over the past few months. She was managing graduate school stress.

I didn’t really catch the coloring fever until Barnes and Noble’s “All-American Art Unwind” which armed us grown-ups with complex coloring pages and a myriad of expensive coloring materials to explore with back in November 2015.

From there I became obsessed with finding more coloring bookmarks. Then someone found me cat patterned coloring bookmarks. Then a cat coloring book. Now I’m obsessed with coloring cats and it’s not even my fault.

It’s strangely therapeutic taking to my coloring book out after a long day and plotting my color palette with my 50 pack of skinny crayola markers. You don’t need expensive tools to color, just ones you like.

But why is it so wonderful?

  1. Art helps us deal with our feelings. There’s a whole field of psychotherapy called “Art Therapy.” Not only does it include coloring, but also modeling, painting, drawing, etc. “Art therapy has the unique ability to unlock emotional expression by facilitating non-verbal communication,” according to the American Art Therapy Association.
  2. Coloring de-stresses us and douses anxiety. By tackling something as physical as a coloring project, our minds get swept up into the moment out of the gutter, the doldrums or wherever we’ve found ourselves. It promotes mindfulness. The case is built well in this Huffington Post article. Check it out.
  3. Coloring promotes focus. Coloring can help us keep our bodies busy while our minds  listen. Ever catch yourself scribbling in the margins of your notebook on a phone call or in class? It’s neutral enough that the attention required to color doesn’t diminish our ability to listen, but it keeps us from fidgeting in our seat or watching the clock. Huffington Post has a lot of nice things to say about coloring.

So grab your 40% off craft store coupon and head over for your own coloring book and art supplies!


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