Color Me Zen

Manage the hectic holiday season and combat the short, cold days with coloring books designed to help adults color away the winter blues and manage stress.

Leake House

Written by Lena Anderson
Photographed by Joe Worthem

Crayons aren’t just for children anymore. Adult coloring books are the latest trend, and they are becoming a popular way to relax and de-stress while also tapping into the whimsical and creative sides of the brain.

Vicki Mahan, a licensed counselor with the Counseling Center at the University of Mississippi and her own private practice, says coloring can be a gratifying distraction from the daily stressors of life.

“It’s a calming mechanism,” she said. “It provides a sense of control, which is what we all want. A lot of people work in a stressful occupation where they feel like they don’t have a lot of control, so this provides them with an outlet.”

She also likes how coloring books set parameters, which can appeal to people with varying artistic abilities and limited free time.

“Art therapy can be overwhelming to some people, but with coloring books, the patterns are already set,” she said. “They provide a sense of completion. You don’t have to finish the whole picture but can just finish one section of it at a time. It provides a quick bout of relief. It’s purposeful and goal-oriented, yet also creative.”

For the many people who will have “quit smoking” at the top of their list of New Year’s resolutions, Mahan suggests picking up a colored pencil when a craving hits.

“Coloring gives you something to do with your hands,” she said. “Once you get the repetition down, you don’t have to think about it. You can get in a rhythm and bring the stress down.”

A variety of coloring books for adults can be purchased locally at Square Books.

Categories: Current Features