I like yoga … sometimes. My doctor basically prescribed it to me for migraine prevention and stress relief. I feel super relaxed after and I love the community at my local yoga studio, but I still get bored with it very quickly and have to take regular breaks. For those stretches of time when I take my break from yoga I still need a way to shake some stress! Enter: coloring books.
A friend of mine introduced me to the wonderful world of coloring books for adults! I did a little bit of research (though I didn’t need much persuasion) and there is some science behind it. Coloring activates different parts of the brain in different ways — increasing activity in parts required for logic and fine motor skills while decreasing activity in parts that control emotions (and presumably stress). In a nutshell, focusing on the act of coloring forces us to focus less on other thoughts and feelings floating around in our minds. Check out this HuffPo article about it.
I thought, “Now that’s something I can get into!” Right off the bat I saw this as an opportunity to spend a ridiculous amount of money on fancy markers. Thankfully, a friend intervened and convinced me to be reasonable about it. Instead, I bought a Crayola 50-pack (here) from Target. They’re not as nice as the fancy expensive markers, but that’s not the important thing here … I guess.
The book I’m currently using is called Balance: Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1 by Angie Grace. You can grab it on Amazon.com. A couple other very popular ones suggested by friends are Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest, both by Johanna Basford.
Coloring has been quite relaxing! If you want a relaxing hobby, but won’t obsess and stress over coloring within the lines, then I highly suggest it. It’s also replaced another bad habit — checking my phone while I watch TV or listening to a podcast. Over the past couple of years, I’ve felt my attention span drop drastically. If I feel the slightest tinge of boredom I’ll immediately pick up my phone and turn into a total phone-zombie. Then I miss half of the story line! Instead of phone-zombie-ing, I’ve started to pick up my coloring book. I’m able to still pay attention to the story or whatever content is on the TV or podcast, but not feel restless. It’s a two-fer! Wait, no, a three-fer! Why? Because you can put your beautifully colored illustration in a frame and display it on a wall. BOOM!