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Coloring books for stress relief is now grown into a full-on trend in many countries in the world. And from medical researchers to real consumers, everyone applauds their benefits when used as an alternative to meditation to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

For years, coloring books have been a hobby not only for children but also for grown-Ups. Anti-stress, meditation tool or introduction to art, stress relief adult coloring books are promoted for 10s of virtues, almost to the point of now competing with the conventional antianxiety agents (anxiolytics) commonly recommended to stressed or depressed people. In fact, some users say the practice helps them spending less time on social media websites, which studies have found can cause depression.

Coloring books for adults are widely used by health professionals as educational tools. For instance, it is reported by The American Journal of Nursing that a nurse, trying to limit the trauma of pediatric surgery, described in an academic publication how using a coloring book “can help the child to understand what will happen to him.”

It also reported by the Toronto Star that coloring is used for the rehabilitation of accident victims to help them restore coordination between their hands and eyes, as well as with autistic children, both for their distraction and their soothing effect. In certain medical cases where bright colors can be a problem, children with severe autism for instance, coloring software is considered as a better solution instead books. But regardless of the form, users believe coloring brings distraction and helps them forget about difficult times they are going through.   

This tendency is not only in the United States. Adult coloring books have had significant success in bookstores in France and the United Kingdom since 2012. Tens of thousands of copies have been published and sold online as well as in local stores. This popularity is also reflected in Asian and Latin American countries. “I bought one for about $2 in a street of China while visiting, states an American woman.

However, all adult coloring books are not the same, according to health professionals. Stress management specialists tend to recommend their patients to look for coloring books with calming, relaxation, or stress relieving patterns such as an adult coloring book with animals and flowers.

Delarno, a stress management specialist, states, “Drawing nature helps the brain to relax and forget the depressive effects of our society. These coloring patterns are known for their soothing effects on the brain, as well as their therapeutic potential on sick, disabled, depressed, or stressed people by helping them forget their current situation.”

He also advises his patients to look for overall harmony of their coloring rather than focus on each drawing individually. Consumers need to balance the colors to make them reflect their emotions of the moment instead of following specific rules. In other words, they need to create their own world by living what they are coloring. He concludes to recommend his patients to “use their adult coloring book to escape from the burden of their daily life in order to live the life they really desire.”

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