Coloring books for teens help manage stress

Katrina Springs, Staff Writer

Although coloring is an activity that’s associated with children, the physiological effects it has on reducing stress and anxiety has made adult coloring books the next natural relaxing fad.

In adult coloring books, the designs feature intricate details and different geometric patterns in mandalas or flowers, unlike children’s coloring books that usually feature a simple design.

Adult coloring or art therapy can be helpful for someone who is dealing with depression, anxiety and even dementia.

“Being able to focus on something that’s intricate and detailed makes me lose track of time and my worries,” senior Ashley Doucette said.

According to psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala in the article “Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids,” by Elena Santos, coloring involves logic and creativity.

“When I first bought the coloring book I was skeptical if it would work,” Doucette said.  “But it really helps me destress and unwind.”

There is a scientific explanation to why coloring can help a person distress — it’s just not all in one’s head.

“Coloring incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills,” Ayala said.  “The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.”

Coloring is not a cure to terminal illnesses but can be a way to deal with the stress of a patient having one.

According to Santos, a study conducted in 2006 shows that this kind of therapy helped find mindfulness for women with cancer by significantly decreasing symptoms of physical and emotional distress during treatment.

Coloring can be a natural destressing activity that anyone can do without the worry of negative effects from prescription drugs.