When I first heard about the adult coloring trend, I thought, Seriously? Coloring?! That’s so childish! How would an ‘adult’ coloring book make it any different?

But after doing the same things all the time, I realized that I needed a new hobby. So I decided to find out more about the coloring hype. Every so often, friends would post Facebook statuses about how relaxing it was and how much it relieved their anxiety. Some of them posted pictures of their own beautiful designs. I was captivated.

I began to think, This is nice. Maybe coloring will actually be a good hobby for me.

So I bought a few designs from the Book Store application on my iPad. It took a long time to color them, but I was pleased with the results.

Here are five ways that coloring currently helps me:

1. It distracts me from my problems.

Like many people, I often find myself freaking out about issues that I can’t control. My mind drifts toward the negative. But as I look at the designs in adult coloring books, I imagine how beautiful they can become. When I color, I calm down. All I think about is how awesome a design could look if I just keep coloring.

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2. It serves as a form of exposure therapy.

Coloring challenges my anxiety by requiring me to decide which colors to use and keep track of the time I spend on designs.

Making decisions was always a big weakness for me. I would constantly change my mind and waste SO much time trying to settle on something. The more I color, the easier it becomes to choose the shades and patterns that I desire. The improvement of decision-making also makes it easier for me to monitor my time and move on to new tasks with ease and contentment.

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3. It fuels my inspiration for writing.

Coloring inspires vision. Because I love to write, I always need to have a vision and a way to express it through words. As I color different designs, I develop different story ideas. For instance, if I color a city, I could think of a story about a city I’ve never seen before. Coloring can also give me an idea of what genre I want to write. The contrast of different designs helps me diversify stories and words to use for imagery.

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4. It helps me find hope in change.

It’s only human to feel like giving up when we don’t feel that we’re making any progress with a task. With coloring, you can visually see progress every second you move your hand.

Every time I take a break from coloring, the design looks different. The closer I come to completing the design, the more it starts to look like something. This observation of change is a principle that I currently apply to difficult and/or monotonous tasks, like cleaning my room and filling out job applications. Productivity is more apparent and pleasurable.

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5. It helps me envision the future.

While coloring inspires vision for stories, it also inspires vision for the future. When there’s nothing to do, nothing to see, and all of the negative thoughts surfacing in the mind, it can be easy to think that there is no future. That’s pretty depressing, right? It gets to the point where you wonder, What’s the point?

When I color, I see what I never saw before. I feel peace, which is generally a rare feeling for me. The more beauty I see and peace I feel, the more I start to think about positive things for the future–a good marriage, healthy children, a nice house, emotional stability, etc.

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