Adult coloring books rise in popularity

Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter

Adult coloring books contain bold, chic designs and when colored can become beautiful enough to display.

Samantha Soto, freshman exercise science major, said she and her friends decorate their dorm with their creations and through creating them, help themselves unwind.

“My friends at my dorm, we actually use the coloring books to relax and distress,” said Soto. “We take each other’s pictures and hang them up on our walls in our dorm as decoration because they are really trendy and the patterns are really nice. Also, my boyfriend’s mother, we send each other pictures of us doing these coloring books and we ask each other what colors we should use and stuff like that.”

Soto said the activity is not always completely relaxing, since it can cause aggravation when the images or designs are too small to color, but, for the most part, coloring is her escape from obligations such as being on the swim team or studying.

A 2005 study by Nancy A. Curry and Tim Kasser found that coloring certain designs can lower anxiety. Designs like a mandala and plaid are complex to the extent of engaging the participant, yet simple enough so participants will not excessively think about the design they are working on, thus drawing them into a meditative state.

Alex Kester, senior biology major, said she enjoyed coloring before it turned into a trend because she found it to be calming.

“I actually used to color in the little kid coloring books before this became a huge trend,” said Kester. “Now they have the adult coloring books out there and I just think it relaxes you.”

Kester added, while she does enjoy coloring from time to time, it is not something that catches her interest as much as other activities such as reading, watching TV or listening to music.

Paula Alarcon, sophomore chemistry major, said coloring is a new hobby and she enjoys it because it is distressing as well as boosts her motivation.

“It personally works for me. It just makes me focus on coloring and doing my own thing instead of worrying about other things,” said Alarcon. “I just started, but it makes me want to be more productive in my life.”

Alarcon added coloring is an activity that requires a lot of patience and if someone is not a patient person then they will not enjoy it.  

Chrissy Fuchs, MSU graduate intern at the Counseling Center on campus, agreed with Alarcon, saying, like any other hobby, coloring may not for everyone. She said people who may not be creative will find themselves with increased stress trying to color. Also, being a perfectionist and putting too much effort into the design may cause adverse effects on anxiety as well.

Fuchs said for those who do enjoy coloring, coloring books could be a great tool to utilize for reducing anxiety because they can provide a positive outlet as well as a nostalgic appeal.  

“Thinking about doing something else could help distract you from something you might be stressed about,” said Fuchs. “I used to love to color when I was younger. It was something I used to love to do and so sometimes I think when we connect back to things we used to do as a child, it can feel less adult-like and more playful.”

Photo Credit: Karen Mardahl


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