Coloring is an opportunity to embrace your creativity and free your imagination. At least, that’s the case for children. After reaching a certain age, coloring becomes a thing of the past and the activity hardly finds a place in our adult lives.


According to research, however, it might be time for adults to whip out the crayons again, especially if they’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by stress. Studies have shown that for a number of reasons, coloring can be an amazing tool for adults in achieving relief from stress while allowing them to reconnect with their inner child.


For starters, the relationship between coloring and cognition suggests that the activity has a significant effect on how your brain is working while coloring. According to psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala:


“[Coloring] involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements]. 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.”


This essentially means that coloring can serve as a valuable de-stressor because it can help you focus your attention solely on the activity itself. In doing so, it helps you free your mind of other thoughts and worries which may be causing stress in the first place.


UK Illustrator Mel Simone Elliot has created a series of adult coloring books featuring popular celebrities like Ryan Gosling (

UK Illustrator Mel Simone Elliot has created a series of adult coloring books featuring popular celebrities like Ryan Gosling (

Coloring may also inspire a level of nostalgia that can take you back to your childhood, a time at which you most likely experienced far less stress than you do as an adult. Through engaging in an activity that you probably enjoyed as a kid, you are able to mentally return to a freer, more childlike state, thus ridding yourself of excess stress that may be weighing on you.


The best part about using coloring to de-stress is that there’s no need to borrow pages from your kids’ coloring books. Instead, you can get your own adult coloring book thanks to several companies which have embraced the creative and therapeutic value of coloring in adulthood. While some of these books simply contain images of more complex designs than can be found in children’s coloring books, others have coloring pages with scenes and subjects that relate more to specific interests and experiences of adults.


For example, if you are a fan of the traditional, you may enjoy any books compiled of Mandala coloring pages (mandala designs were first used for relaxation purposes in the early 20th century and have their roots in India). If you are interested in popular culture, you could go for options like UK illustrator Mel Simone Elliot’s Color Me Good celebrity coloring books, which feature stars like Ryan Gosling and Kate Moss.


Whatever your interests, as publishers continue to increase the selection of coloring books on the market geared towards adults, you are sure to find something to fit your taste. All you have to do is find your perfect collection of pictures, pull out the crayons or colored pencils, and let your creativity flow. It won’t be long before relaxation and relief from stress follow!


Did you know this childhood pastime could be a successful stress-reliever? Share your thoughts with us below or tweet me@tamarahoumi