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Adult coloring books: the new stress reliever

By Hailey Mallendick, For The Miami Student

Coloring is an activity that everyone is familiar with, especially as children. However, it is now making a comeback among students here on campus. Many Miami students, and adults across the country, are now coloring to help reduce stress from work and to relax.

In a recent Huffington Post article, psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala discussed her research on the effects of coloring on the brain. Ayala found the amount of concentration and focus coloring requires causes people to think about the drawings and not their worries, which can have stress relieving effects on the brain.

While psychologists across the country have been researching the effects of coloring on the brain, it is not a practiced method among the staff at the Miami University Student Counseling Services, according to psychologist Jennifer Young.

"We do not formally use [coloring], but we do have paper and markers available to students in the waiting room," Young said.

Senior Claire Vargas finds the activity enjoyable and therapeutic.

"I started coloring just for fun," said Vargas. "It's a great way to pass time while simultaneously being a stress reliever."

Students are coloring when they have a lot of work to do and feel overwhelmed; particularly, around the busy weeks of school like midterms and finals.

"I color to keep myself calm when I am having a stressful week," said senior Maddy Wimmer. "Especially around finals week and when I have big projects to work on."

Adult coloring books are selling out at nationwide retailers like Barnes & Noble and at online stores like Amazon. Artists are now designing coloring books that have more complicated designs intended to calm the consumers in stressful situations.

Artist Johanna Basford's three coloring books "Secret Gardens," "Enchanted Gardens" and "Lost Ocean" are all best sellers on Amazon.

Her coloring books have also been sold out of numerous book stores around the world and have had several more reprints to keep up the with high demand. Basford was surprised by the success of her hand-drawn books and has found that people use her books to de-stress, tap into their inner creativity and find the nostalgia of their childhood.

Fans become loyal to certain artists, depending on what appeals to them. Vargas is loyal to Basford.

"I only use Johanna Basford's coloring books," said Vargas. "I love how intricate her work is."

While many students enjoy coloring for fun and stress relief, there are some students that do not like coloring at all. Among them is senior Allie Davis.

"Coloring is annoying to me because it is time consuming and really tedious," said Davis. "I would rather listen to music or watch YouTube videos to relieve stress."

Although it might not appeal to everyone, those who support it can't stop talking about it.

"I definitely recommend it to others," said Vargas. "I've already gotten a couple of my other friends into [coloring]."

With the amount of schoolwork increasing since the start of the new semester, there might be more students on campus coloring to help de-stress.