But Does It Work?, I Am #Fearless, Mental Illness
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But Does It Work? Coloring for Stress & Anxiety

I love to color. I own three coloring books, and way too many crayons, markers and colored pencils. For my birthday, my mom got me a coloring book and it was probably the best gift I had received in a very long time.

So, as you can imagine when I first caught wind that coloring could be used as a way to reduce anxiety I was stoked. This meant I could color, as an adult, and say I had an actual health reason to be doing so. What could be better?

But, I also realized that like many things I read on the internet, it may not be true, which is why I’m here to investigate and let you know if it works as an actual anxiety reducer.

Personal Experience

I might be a tad biased, but coloring does actually work for me. When I’m anxious, I need to keep my mind focused. Coloring is just enough stimulation that I can keep myself focused on coloring, but isn’t so stressful and consuming that it adds to my anxiety.

I’ve used it while flying on a plane, when I’m sitting at home and I’m suddenly overwhelmed with anxiety, or even when I’m watching a really tense football game and I feel that panic rising. Each time it’s helped me regain control of my thoughts and emotions, which eventually led to me being able to talk myself down from an anxiety attack with little to no adverse effects.

And even cooler, at my previous job my boss always had a coloring page and crayons at her desk. Whenever someone would come in she would make them color before she talked with them as a way to help them calm down and relax. I used to color all the time at work, just to help me stay focused and driven to finish the day.

So, to sum it up? Personally I use this method every time. Or at least, when I’m able. I’ve started bringing my coloring books and pencils with me when I travel, just in case, and it’s always nice to know it’s there if I need it.

Professional Findings

Turns out when you type into Google, “Is coloring good for anxiety?” it will give you exactly what you were hoping for.

There are countless articles that all lead with how more adults are turning to coloring to beat stress and anxiety, which is a great thing to hear. Better yet, this quote gives me hope that coloring is going to be a serious anxiety break through.

A quote from Tiddy Rowan in an article from the Huffington Post:

“When you’re colouring, you’re not really thinking about anything else. In that moment – when you’re sitting down with a traditional piece of paper and some pens, no apps, no noise – you almost go back to being a kid again. Colouring provides a bit of escapism.”

They continued on to explain that many people are already using this as a way to reduce stress, ease headache and tension, and to just relax after a day at work. Basically, it teaches us mindfulness, something that Tiddy thinks we’re loosing in such a technology driven and fast paced world.

The Huffington Post isn’t the only place raving about the calming effects of coloring. NBC News, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, CNN and many more are raving about this revolution of adult coloring enthusiasts and the positive effects it’s having.

If you type adult coloring books into Amazon.com you get plenty of selections and hours of fun. So all this publicity can’t be wrong, right?

Although, if that’s not enough to make you believe it, perhaps articles from Medical Daily and Aurora University will help lay to rest some of your hesitancies.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, I think this one does work. Who hasn’t benefitted from some quiet coloring time? If you haven’t tried it, next time you’re feeling anxious or out of control, get a piece of paper and a pen. Just start to doodle. Color, scribble, draw the Mona Lisa; it doesn’t matter, but just focus your mind on coloring.

I’m not a psychologist, but I can bet you after a few minutes of focusing your mind and slowing yourself down, you’ll start to feel better. Or at least be in a place where you can begin to rationalize your fears.

Got an anxiety tip or stress relief method you want me to look into? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, Internet!

If you would like to email me, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. I will do my best to respond to you within 48 hours, but if for some reason I cannot get back to you in that time frame, I promise I will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find me on  FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram

Lastly, I run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle I am passionately engaged in. The group is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.

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