Lately, it seems like life’s stresses have been kicking into over drive. With work and life being extra crazy, I decided I needed to figure out ways to calm my mind and maintain a positive outlook, pronto!

While meditation is awesome and definitely recommended (check out the free Calm app for this), I found that I just can’t “turn off” my thoughts lately. I needed something that I could actually do that had the same effect.

So, I decided to give this recent trend a try: coloring!

I turned to coloring after reading an article in the Huffington Post about coloring being an alternative to meditation. I was definitely sold and have since developed kind of a coloring obsession. It’s really helped me to unwind after heavy caseloads and super fast-paced days.

And of course, busting out the coloring books with your patients may also help reduce their stress while addressing fine motor coordination, standing tolerance, attention, you name it. It definitely makes for a great intervention idea if you feel it’s appropriate.great-big-book-2-of-mandalas-to-color-2Finding the Present Moment With Coloring

Coloring is great for reducing stress and anxiety as it allows you to step out of your anxious or negative thoughts for a moment and solely focus on the coloring.

Think about your favorite activity, whether it’s sports, reading, playing video games, or talking with a good friend. What these activities have in common is that they are all things that get us fully engaged in the present moment. It’s at times of boredom with nothing to do that people start thinking about the past and future which often brings on feelings of restlessness, worry, and fear.

Coloring is a great tool you can use to find the present moment. And it’s something that’s simple and doesn’t require a computer or cell phone screen, which will be a welcome break for all of us. It’s not over-stimulating like continuously scrolling though Facebook or Instagram (which I’m definitely guilty of and working on).

To me, coloring is even easier and more relaxing than meditating since I have something to actively focus on vs. worrying about stopping my thoughts.

Tips for The Most Optimal Coloring Experience

Finding a coloring book that you can just “fill in” the spaces is easy for those of us that don’t quite have that artistic side to free draw. Sitting in front of a blank piece of paper may actually cause you more stress, so having a good coloring book with color-in-the-lines can go a long way.

It’s also recommended that you color in a calm, quiet place so you can really relax and focus on the coloring.

My Favorite Coloring Picks

You’ll want some soft colored pencils
and any color-in-the-lines adult coloring books like:

There are so many options now that coloring for stress-relief has become known and trendy (because it works!). 

There are also interactive coloring books for serious “color-ers” like:

(These Amazon Affiliate links help support My OT Spot at no extra cost to you. See the Affiliate Disclosure for more information.)

Try not to get too bogged down with picking the “right” coloring book. Just picking one with designs and getting a few colored pencils to get started can go a long way.


Taking the time to sit down and color for fifteen minutes has really helped me de-stress and feel less overwhelmed about things I shouldn’t be worrying so much about. My patients also really enjoy this activity when I bring out for them to do, even when it’s just during their downtime between therapies.

I hope this post inspires you to give coloring a try and see if you feel a difference if you’re going through a rough time.

Have you used coloring as a stress reliever for yourself or with your patients? Let me know in the comments if you have and how it worked for you!

Happy coloring 🙂

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