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Looking for some “outside of the box” ideas on relaxation? Try coloring. Yes, I said coloring!

Recently a coworker introduced me to coloring books for adults, which I was super pleased to learn about, as I used to love to color as a kid. During my search for coloring books I came across these two with specific themes around relaxation, meditation and calming, and stress reduction. They are written by a board certified art therapist, Lucy Mucklow, and beautifully done.

The introduction to the Color Me Calm coloring book does a great job describing the act of coloring as a type of meditation in itself, and even gives tips on which colors to use to promote relaxation and calming. As you might have guessed, they are the cool colors such as blue, green, and purple. She goes on to describe certain patterns that promote relaxation as well such as mandalas, water and wooded scenes, and others including flora and fauna. I personally find the wooded scenes extra relaxing and enjoy coloring those the most! Lacy’s newest coloring book, Color Me Stress-Free, has a great introduction as well, and divides the book into the seven most common stressors we all experience: disorganization, relationships, finances, employment, health concerns, time management, and traveling/commuting.

The intention of theses coloring books is to bring you into a more relaxed state, which in medical speak means activating your parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest and digest” side, in contrast to the sympathetic nervous system, which is your “fight or flight” side. In today’s world most of us spend far too much time in fight or flight mode, experiencing stress. Although we all know we should “relax” more to improve our health, accomplishing that looks different for everyone. For some it may be a one hour meditation, a yoga class, a run, a hot Epsom salt bath before bed, or a day at the beach, and for others it may be as simple as reading, listening to music, or coloring.

Do you color?

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