Coloring Helps Lower Stress

Drawing is not only a children’s activity.

People are looking for different ways to relax and reduce stress in their daily routines, and coloring is an affordable way to do so.

“Besides being a recreational activity, coloring is also liberating,” said Nohemí Guzmán Lara, a private psychologist who graduated from the Universidad Veracruzana. “Those with a high-stress level become so relaxed that they completely forget about their problems at work, home or of any kind.”

Many who practice this relaxation method have reported that it brings them peace and serenity. Coloring also helps them foster their creativity and imagination, as it uses both brain hemispheres.

How did this relaxation trend come about?

It started in France, and soon the rest of Europe adopted coloring to de-stress in busy cosmopolitan life. In the Americas, it came first to Canada and then to the United States and Latin America.

Coloring books have seen high sales in recent years as using them benefits people’s physical and mental health without a substantial financial burden.

Something about the smooth colored points may be relaxing. *** Algún aspecto de los puntos coloridos tan lisos podría tener un efecto relajante. (Charlie Ramírez/Café Words)

The colors one uses reflect one’s level of relaxation. The patterns or drawings to be colored may have a special meaning or depict characters, animals, fruits or just random shapes.

As with many other therapeutic methods, it is essential to dedicate some time to oneself.

“It is important that people have a certain time to sit and relax, to focus on coloring and lose their sense of time,” Guzmán Lara said. “Often they don’t even realize how relaxed they are.”

People can download coloring panels or buy books full of them for little cost. *** Se puede bajar de Internet o comprar por poco dinero libros llenos de hojas para colorear. (Customer Box/Unsplash)

How does this relaxation technique work? 

First, people must choose a design to their liking. To avoid getting distracted, they should have the necessary tools, including a box of colored pencils and a pencil sharpener. Books full of coloring sheets can be downloaded from the Internet or bought cheaply in stores. Once they have these materials, they must focus their full attention.

Coloring involves lightly painting the contours of a design so as not to draw outside the lines. The intent is for the person to release their hands and gradually illuminate more challenging designs.

“I work in an office where the stress level is quite high,” said Sebastián Bajoras Prieto, an administrative employee at a bank. “I come home and usually have dinner, then I play music at a low volume and sit down at the table to color. I like to paint mandalas because of the designs’ complexity, and I like to see what color combinations they might have.”

For this activity to become therapeutic, one must first develop a habit.

“It’s quite relaxing for me and helps me fall asleep,” Bajoras Prieto said.

(Translated and edited by Gabriela Olmos. Edited by Carlin Becker

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