Grab Your Coloured Pencils To Relieve Stress

Colouring in helps some people deal with stress.                                           Image:Pixabay
I am sure you have noticed all the colouring in books for adults in the shops. Many of these are designed specifically to reduce stress. Colouring in can be calming, relaxing and helps people to slow down their thinking. There is a blog (perhaps more than one) which reviews colouring in books for adults and a Facebook group for those who enjoy using their coloured pencils. The demand is so great some bookshops are finding it difficult to keep enough colouring books in stock.

In the past people thought of children when someone said, 'colouring in'. It helps children develop coordination as they concentrate on colouring within the lines. However, some educators are against colouring in for youngsters, saying these activities do not encourage creativity and originality. There are also fears children may feel their own drawings are inadequate compared to those found in colouring books.
Whether you believe colouring in has educational value for children or not, studies have shown it can be a relaxing activity for adults. 

An alternative to traditional meditation 
Colouring in can be a form of movement meditation because it involves a single movement which is repeated as you colour back and forth. People who fidget all the time may find traditional forms of meditation difficult. For them colouring in is a repetitive activity which encourages concentration without them having to stress about being focussed. 

Other benefits of colouring in
Some people find doing some colouring in before climbing into bed can help them fall asleep. It has been found to be a good activity to reduce agitation in some people who have dementia. 

A simple activity 
Colouring in is a simple activity which does not require many materials and may be inexpensive compared to other hobbies. Having said that, a stress relieving colouring in book for an adult may cost over $20 compared to children’s colouring books found in bargain shops for as little as $2. But, as well as being a current trend, books for adults tend to have more detailed drawings. Some are designed in consultation with a therapist, psychologist or a neuroscientist with the specific aim of reducing anxiety and stress. 

Not everyone finds colouring in relaxing 
Some adults don't find colouring in relaxing. They may get frustrated or find it actually increases their stress levels because they are afraid of colouring over a line or choosing the ‘wrong’ colour. Probably not the best activity for a perfectionist or someone who really has trouble making choices.

Alternative stress reducing activities
Some people prefer a creative activity where they start from scratch and paint their own picture, create a sculpture or knit something. Colouring in may be too quiet and sedentary an activity for others. These people like to relieve stress by participating in something physical such as gardening, walking, maybe jogging or playing sport.

Do I find it relaxing?
I have tried colouring in as an adult, didn't find it relaxing. To be honest, I was a bit bored and kept thinking I would rather be doing something else, like writing a poem. But I think it's a great activity for those who enjoy it. I have a friend who finds colouring in reduces anxiety and I gave her my set of 72 Derwent coloured pencils when I was decluttering. Well, there were 72 when I bought them many many years ago, a few got lost over the years as tends to happen.

There is no single activity which reduces stress in everyone. We are all different, keeps the world interesting. 

Have you tried colouring in as an adult and did you enjoy it? What do you do to relax or reduce stress? We'd love to read any comments and suggestions. 


  1. I'm a lot better with digital colouring than in real life lol... but I'm going to remedy that when I get a space to play around with my art gears...relieve stress! Out with mates down the local having a sing-song!


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