Once thought to be only an activity for children, coloring has now become popular among people of all ages. With the medical community backing the health benefits of coloring, it’s never been a better time to get creative.

Adult coloring books are available in all shapes and sizes, with endless options and themes. From nature and animals to classic paintings, tribal designs to encouraging words, anyone can find something to color that inspires them.

You can even color instantly, anywhere, now that coloring apps are available on your smart phone.

Peggy Morris Miller, a retired art teacher, said she discovered adult coloring books about a year ago. She recommends them for people that are nervous or uncomfortable about art because it may ease them into the art world.

“I think it’s art therapy, it really is,” Miller said. “I gave my mother-in-law one and she was thrilled. She’ll be 100 in July. All ages can benefit from them.”

Barnes and Noble Assistant Manager Roberta Sears said the adult coloring books are very popular with customers at the Plainfield location. With two large sections and featured tables, the coloring book options are plentiful.

“The adult coloring books have really taken off in the last year or so,” Sears said. “It’s an area that people love and it doesn’t matter what age.”

Maria Larrison, child and family advocate at Susie’s Place in Avon, said she uses adult coloring for her team as well as the adult family members of her patients.

“I think they thought I was looney, but I made copies and brought them back here for the team and they absolutely love it,” Larrison said. “Then I thought I’d incorporate that out there with the adults, the family members, and they love it.”

Susie’s Place provides a neutral, child-friendly center to investigate alleged child abuse and neglect in Indiana, while keeping the comfort and safety of the child as the first priority. In high stress jobs such as this, Larrison said it’s important to be creative and find an outlet.

“It’s just so therapeutic, I absolutely love it,” Larrison said.

Physical Therapist Cindy Myers agrees. She teaches stress management classes at Hendricks Regional Health and has been recommending coloring books to adult for the last year.

“It’s becoming kind of a fad, but one of the main things we do in stress management is mindfulness. Coloring is just a method of mindfulness,” Myers explained.

Myers said that because coloring is so detailed, you have to concentrate and ultimately receive the same beneficial brain chemistry that you would with any other method of mindfulness, such as meditating.

Medical professionals working with patients that deal with stress, anxiety and depression have started suggesting coloring as a helpful relaxation tool. Patients with arthritis have also been benefitting from coloring.

“Someone that came in our class in the most anxious, depressed state said that she had gotten an adult coloring book for Christmas and she had been using it and loved it,” Myers said. “She said that she’d been doing it consistently twice a week and it’s made a world of difference.”

Myers said that people with some kind of art in their background would most likely be attracted to coloring, but everyone can profit from it. The research on mindfulness has shown that everyone benefits from some type of calming habit in their life, she said.

“Calming is not optional to good health, we should all be doing it,” Myers said. “We shouldn’t wait until we’re desperate before we do something beneficial for ourselves.”

Follow Hendricks County Flyer Reporter Ashton Brellenthin on Twitter @SeeAshtonWrite.

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