Relax and Color

As I prepared to write a blog entry during the first days of August, I stumbled across the fact that August 2 of each year is National Coloring Book Day. It seems that a company called Dover Publications started publishing adult coloring books in 1970 which led to the establishment of this special day. Check out the story here.

While August 2 may have already gone by, the idea of coloring for adults on any day has recently really taken hold and become a phenomenon. According to the business magazine Forbes, in 2015, one publisher of adult coloring books sold over 1 million coloring books and had 3 Amazon #1 best-sellers!

I must admit, I am an adult colorer ever since one of our wonderful students here at Maria College gave me a coloring book as a gift. While grading many, many papers during finals week this past May, I first tried the coloring book to give myself a little break from the words on the pages that I had been reading. Instantly, I began to relax as I started to color the abstract picture with all sorts of small designs to be filled in. I felt so creative as I chose which colors of pencils to use, and I must say, I was proud of myself for staying in the lines! I really was!

As my own experience supported, one of the powerful advantages that has been noted with adult coloring is the ability of that childhood activity to relieve stress. According to a recent Parade magazine article: “Likened to art therapy, adult coloring is said to relieve the anxieties and tensions associated with day-to-day living. The gentle stimulation and minimal activity helps to soothe a running mind, while giving it something to focus on that is relaxing.”

Although many researchers have noted that coloring is not the same as art therapy, the benefits of coloring are valuable. Take a minute to read this article by Nancy Gerber, PhD, director of the PhD Program in Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University.

NOTE: Maria College Psychology Program Students—there may be a really great topic here for a research paper or project!

NOTE: Maria College Students in One of Our Many Health Care Programs—there may be a really great topic here for you too!!!! For example, using coloring to help cancer patients in stressful and uncomfortable situations is being done at the University of California Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Read the article.

I know that I will continue to color for all of the benefits and for the fact that coloring is just plain old fun!

Maybe I will see some of you coloring on campus for a fun and relaxing break from your studies. And maybe some of you will sign up for ART 102—Drawing being offered on Friday afternoons this fall semester!

Until next time…


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