By Princess Berry
August 23, 2020
Anxiety can feel like one of those conditions that never go away. I could go days without having an anxiety attack and then, out of nowhere, one small thing will set me back. Besides getting therapy while I was in college, I have sought out other ways to help combat my anxiety. One of those ways is by using coloring books.
When I started working as a writing consultant at my university’s writing center, I noticed that there were coloring books in the cabinets. I didn’t know that it was acceptable for adults to even touch a coloring book until I saw my coworkers using them as a way to relax. This realization came in handy when I was on an airplane for the first time in years. My friend knew I was nervous about flying, so he offered me a coloring book to work on to distract me. Having my brain focus on figuring out what color I should choose for a cat’s bow, rather than on the turbulence, made the flight bearable. Coloring on the plane was also really fun to do.
Once home, I decided to pick up a few coloring books while at Dollar General. Luckily, I already had a bunch of rarely used markers and crayons. Coloring books do not stop my anxiety attacks, but they are great when I need to take my mind off stressful situations, and when there’s too much noise around me. I like to use my imagination when I color by pretending that I am an artist working on my next masterpiece, or if I’m working on coloring a person, I pretend that I am a makeup artist. Though my imagination is silly, it does help when I use my creativity since it helps me distance myself from my stress even more. Coloring books also made me feel like a kid again which is a feeling most adults would like to return to.
In the future, I would love to get more complex coloring books that have busier scenes, so that way I can color longer. A while back, I saw on Instagram that Gerard Way announced the “Quarantine coloring book” where pages can be downloaded for free. I think the idea is really nice, especially during these stressful times where most of us are spending a majority of our time in the house. I would like to get sticker books to help combat my anxiety, too. They are even simpler than a coloring book and will give me nostalgia since I was addicted to them as a kid.
If you have really bad anxiety, like me, what strategies do you use to combat it? I’m open minded, so all suggestions are welcome. In stressful times like these, it could be beneficial for all of us to mention what we use to combat anxiety to help others who don’t handle their anxiety in a healthy way and to help those who are seeking new coping methods. You can check out the “Quarantine coloring book” at https://www.thequarantinecoloringbook.com/.
Stay hopeful and stay safe!
Edited by: Emily Chance