Adult Coloring for Stress Relief and Healing Autoimmune Disease
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SAD diets, 8 hrs + a day sitting, less sleep, screens galore… it’s no secret that we’re sick and out of balance. In my journey with an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s thyroid disease) I’ve learned that balancing multiple health and wellness practices are key to maintaining my health. It’s not enough to just exercise if I’m not eating well, etc. Stress reduction always seems to be one of the last hills that try to climb. It’s just so daunting and seems impossible to conquer. However, when we break it down into tactics and practices rather than just one big picture, it suddenly becomes more manageable. Enter the hottest new stress reduction strategy, adult coloring.
Adult coloring has blown up in the past year. No, seriously, look at the Google trends.The number of people searching “adult coloring” in the past year has increased tremendously and is only trending upwards.
It went from something that I never really heard about to taking over Urban Outfitters shelves across the country. Everybody’s doing it and talking about the positive impacts of adult coloring. So, what gives? Why did it just blow up? Should you be doing it?
First, why are we obsessed?
I can’t tell you exactly why it blew up, or “went viral” per-sey. Sometimes these things just happen. Here are some theories as to why we’re so obsessed with coloring all of a sudden.
- We’re overly stressed. It’s no secret that we’re all stressed. The world that we live in is just so unnatural and the list of stressors goes on and on.
2. We’re sick and need healing. Chronic illness and autoimmune disease are on the rise. Allopathic medicine tells us take our NSAID’s and prescriptions and deal with it. After living with autoimmune thyroid disease for over 7 years, I can tell you that there’s more to healing than prescription drugs.
3. We’re obsessed with visuals. In the age of Instagram, people want to stare at pretty things.
4. The internet makes random things hot. Cue the Harlem Shake, The Dress, and anything that Drake does. Not to say that adult coloring is totally random, but it’s a little random.
I won’t be the first one in this world of healthy living blogging to say that my life is still a bit stressful. Eating well, praying, sleeping, and practicing yoga will always be a huge burden off my body that feels the need to attack itself (i.e. my autoimmune disease), but I can still go to bed some nights with the gnawing feeling of stress and anxiety. I knew that I needed a good, hands on way to chill myself out a bit more to promote healing.
When you have autoimmune disease you’re in this constant state of either healing or maintaining a healed state. Stress reduction is essential for healing. There are so many ways that your body and mind can get stressed. Whether you’re fighting your autoimmune disease or chronic illness, battling blood sugar swings, or just have too much on your plate, you’re stressing your body out. When we stress our bodies out they stop focusing on repairing and go into high alert to fight just the stress and inflammation that we’re experiencing. Reducing all types of stress (both physical and mental) enable the body to calm down and heal, or maintain a healed state. Coloring is just one way to achieve just that.
How does coloring de-stress and heal?
- Art and coloring are proven to de-stress. Psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology Carl Jung actually recommended his patients to color as a way to relieve stress and anxiety. Many psychologists follow in his footsteps, and for good reasons. Art and coloring are proven to de-stress by relaxing our brains.
- Increased creativity. Something about about adult life… well, everything about adult life stifles creativity. We’re expected to color within the lines. Our day to day lives are routine, pre-planned and lack creativity in multiple regards. Getting back in touch with your creativity can be so mentally therapeutic. It’s especially healing in a nostalgic sense if you were a creative child.
- Better hand-eye coordination. This is may be more of a personal experience, but when I suffer a flare with my own autoimmune disease, I deal with decreased coordination. My hands get shaky, it gets harder to write and I stumble around. Sitting down and focusing on something like coloring help me focus on my hand-eye coordination while doing something calming.
- Staring at something other than a screen. Face it, we’re all entirely too screen happy. I go from staring at my computer all day at work, to starting at it most of the evening when I’m blogging and doing school work. It’s so unnatural, and never ending. Not only is it bad for our eyes but it can toxic to our mental state depending on what we’re constantly looking at. be Taking even just 20 minutes to color at night rather than starting at my phone is therapeutic in itself.
- Fun and play de-stress. No matter how lame it may seems to call coloring “fun”, it’s light years more fun than scrolling through instagram and seeping into some crazy comparison fueled self-hate spiral. Coloring is a form of play by nature as well as in a nostalgic sense. We played more as kids, and we much better off for it.
When I first got my hands on a coloring book, I instantly felt calm out. Turning the pages and seeing the tessellating patterns, bare of any vibrancy and wondering what colors I could add to it. It was both hypnotic as well as nostalgic. Ever since my husband gifted me a coloring book for Christmas, I’ve used it for 20 minutes or so on days when I feel too stressed and it’s been nothing but a pleasure.
I’d been wanting to get started and do it for a while but didn’t really start until it was gifted to me. So, how can you get started?
How to Get Started
Colored pencils, markers, crayons or whatever coloring utensil you choose! I recommend these colored pencils from Yoobi. (photo from Amazon)
If anything they’re just super cute and I’ve been loving using them. Markers bleed and crayons just always bothered me when I was a kid. Colored pencil, 4ever.
As for the coloring book, I recommend, this one, or this one. I just love the patterns but you can grab whichever interests you most! (photo also from Amazon).
You can also download patterns online and print them out. This seems like a great place to get started for that.
Finally, to get started you’ll have to swallow your pride or any weird feelings you have against. coloring. Keep an open mind and just go for it!
Have you jumped on the adult coloring bandwagon? What are your thoughts?