I don’t know if it’s because I err on the sensitive side or because I’m just self-absorbed enough to think that I’m the only one who feels this way, but I sometimes get the sense that I don’t always deal with stress as effectively as other people do. I am aware of the existence of plenty of healthy, productive outlets that help the average human cope with the weight of everyday life—exercise, journaling, meditation, I’ve heard it all. I just have never been able to find one that suits me.
When I impulse ordered a bunch of the best-selling “adult coloring books” off Amazon (don’t even ask me how much money I put toward this risky investment), I didn’t have all that much interest in their “stress-relieving,” “meditative” claims. I just wanted to buy some brightly colored markers and scribble in some mandalas, because I’m an adult, and as an adult I have every right to find sublime joy in childlike activities. That’s how adulthood works, right?
OK, so those claims—and the positive reviews backing them up—might have been the catalyst that drove me to hit Checkout rather than just Add to Cart. There’s also the fact that, for whatever reason, adults are into coloring books right now more than ever, with mental health experts even recommending them as a means of reducing stress. It makes sense: Coloring keeps your hands busy, your mind on the page in front of you rather than the ten thousand other things you could be thinking about, and your imagination in play. Somehow, it manages to keep you engaged and allow you to zone out. Incredible!
As silly as it sounds, I’ve found coloring books to be a really simple, pressure-free way for people who lack drawing skills, like myself, to get creative and, well, chill. I’ve dabbled in every alleged “stress reducer” out there in search of a solution, and while I can’t say that something as straightforward as coloring is the answer to all of your anxious feelings, I’ve found it to be more effective than a Xanax in helping me keep my cool when I’m feeling on edge.
Trust me, you can’t have a panic attack while you’re filling in paisleys with a hot pink gel pen. It is physically impossible.