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Summer is winding down and the stress of the back-to-school season is just starting up. Between all of the shopping and running around, finding a way to mindlessly relieve the chaos that this time of year brings might be easier than you would think.
"Coloring books have been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation due to their inherent qualities, such as the ability to remain present and focused on the image and provide temporary relief from life stressors," said Martha Dorn of The Art Therapy Project, a nonprofit organization in New York that provides art therapy to trauma survivors.
"Similarly, the images in coloring books are pre-made, so the creative energy is placed into the catharsis of repetitive coloring strokes to complete the image."
Heather Mayone Kiely, an art therapist and director of Creative Arts Therapy at Tribeca Therapy, noted that different coloring books pose different benefits for certain individuals.
"For example, some coloring books have very small detailed images that would really appeal to some people but to other people would totally stress them out!" Kiely said. "Other coloring books have bigger images that you can draw/add to rather than just coloring in for people who are in the mood to be a bit more adventurous."
While Dorn advised that coloring books are not art therapy, she noted the therapeutic qualities of the books and their ability to help relieve stress.
If you're looking to ease your mind and take a bit of stress away, we found some of the best coloring books that might suit your style.
This book is full of soothing and simple prints that you can mindlessly fill in without feeling overwhelmed by the intricacies of staggering designs offered in other books.
If you can't find a pair of wings (literally — the creator of this book has created wing murals all over the world), then this book just might do the trick. "Kelsey's interactive style comes out through an entire section of art that can be taken out of the book and used interactively — your own set of wings? Priceless!" one reviewer wrote.
The second-best thing to drinking coffee is coloring it! This book is perfect for coffee lovers as it is filled with endless pages of arabica beans and coffee-related things. Sadly caffeine-free, this book is bound to calm you down when you need it.
This book has over 300 reviews and a 4.5-star rating on Amazon. The designs are unique and even the pre-colored designs are soothing enough to look at on their own.
Although the title may seem family member-specific, this book is full of the clean versions of swear words that are sure to get a good chuckle out of you.
With almost 400 reviews and a 4.5-star rating, this coloring book is the No. 1 bestseller in"Fantasy & Science Fiction Coloring Books for Grown-Ups" on Amazon. It's full of many intricate designs, so it might bode well to use this one if you have the time to dedicate to coloring in the lines.
If you're just looking to test out the coloring book craze and can't see yourself seriously dedicating some time to the craft, we suggest purchasing a cheap coloring book that will offer the same calming qualities. This coloring book costs less than $4.
"I think they are incredibly useful but I think there is a limit on their use. As a therapist, I always like to acknowledge that a lot of things can be therapeutic other than therapy," Kiely said. "But at the end of the day, if you are struggling and feel like you are not living your best life, there really is no substitute for sitting in the room with an actual therapist."