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Simple tools for stress reduction: ‘Color Me Stress-Free!’

Written By | Mar 31, 2017

WASHINGTON, March 31, 2017 – Several years ago I walked into a large retail bookstore and asked if they sold adult coloring books. The response I got was laughter.

As for today: Oh boy, would I like to cash in on the adult coloring book industry! Adult coloring books are now the craze. They’re commonplace in books stores, variety stores, drug stores, food stores, craft stores, large retail stores and online.

Back then, however, the reason I was looking for coloring books was because I thought it would be a great de-stressor both for me and to recommend clients. I know that stress is very common these days, given the tensions of modern life.

So I thought to myself, Okay, what can I do to lower my own stress level, which would also be good to tell clients about?

There are already some well-known practices that lower stress like yoga, mindfulness, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping, massage and breathing techniques. While I do practice these, as well as teaching EFT and breathing techniques to clients, I was also looking for other possibilities.

Free-associating, I remembered looking for a coloring book one time for a friend’s grandchild. I was surprised I couldn’t find any. There were activities books with some pages you could color. There were no books that were strictly for coloring.

When I thought back to my childhood I remembered how much I enjoyed coloring…and so I launched my ongoing quest to find coloring books for both children and adults. Let’s face it, it’s important to have the down time where you don’t have to concentrate or “think”…it is just good to relax. And coloring books, believe it or not, can help create that down time, even for adults.

Later on in life, when I was going through major transitions, I was so used to “doing” that I forgot how to simply “be.” I had to retrain myself how to relax. Even when I watched television, I felt like I still should be doing something active.

While I was watching TV, I had the urge to keep my hands and mind busy. So I would work on things like jigsaw puzzles or I’d play solitaire. Over time, however, I retrained my brain and body to chill out. I made a conscious effort to relax and not feel like I had to “do” something.

To break that “busy” habit, I kept reducing the time of being a human “doer.” Day by day I reduced the time limit I spent “doing” things until I reached the point where I could sit there and not feel compelled to do something as I watched TV programs.

Today, if I am watching a show or listening to music, I will often page through or start filling in the figures in a coloring book because it is such a relaxing activity for me, and it brings back so many wonderful childhood memories.

Cover image for “Color Me Stress Free.”

One adult coloring book I discovered is “Color Me Stress-Free: Nearly 100 Coloring Templates to Unplug and Unwind,” a “Zen Coloring Book,” by Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter. New York: Race Point Publishing, 2015. 208 pp.

Aside from casually busying yourself filling in the objects and figures in a coloring book, what else can you do to reduce stress? Earlier above, I mentioned yoga as one possibility, and many have adopted it as one way of addressing stress. There are many different types of yoga, so check them out and determine what’s right for you.

I also practice mindfulness, a gentle effort to be continuously present with experience. If you’re interested in this approach, I recommend “Mindfulness for Beginners” by Jon Kabat Zinn, who is founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

I also practice and teach tapping (EFT). It is an easy technique that shifts the energy behind negative feelings, emotions, fears, pain or trauma by tapping on specific acupuncture points on the body. With the correct EFT protocol, the energy behind many issues can be released. We all have had emotional traumas that still affect how we are living our lives and tapping helps release the negative blocked energy.

Clearly, if you’re looking for a way to lower your stress, there are many options to choose from, ranging from coloring to tapping to having a fish tank, keeping a gratitude journal, listening to music and exercising.

Alternatively, you can decide not to turn on that TV and watch the news before you go to sleep. That way, your subconscious will not busy itself by processing all that negative information while you are trying to sleep!

Or you can try one of my thirteen positive self-talk strategies: Focus on what you have instead of what’s missing!

In short, there’s always a stress-reducing technique that’s well suited to each and every stressed out person. Take a look. What works for you?

For more Information Contact:

Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC
Certified Business, Life & Career Coach
Focusing on Confidence & Resilience Strategies and Transition
Certified Mediator

Twitter: @SelfTalkCoach


Ask Susan about her coaching packages and the Stress Reducing techniques she teaches: EFT (Tapping) and Breathing Exercises.

Susan Samakow

Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, is a Certified Business, Life and Leadership Coach. Susan focuses on life and career transition, business and leadership, and confidence and resilience strategies. Susan is also a speaker and facilitator, as well as a Community Content Producer for WUSA 9 TV. She is the former president of the ICF Metro DC Chapter, the largest in North America. Susan’s clients are individuals, any size business and the government. Visit Susan’s website: Susan is on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.