Why the latest coloring-book craze can be good for you

(USA Today) When the going gets tough, real women start coloring. They’re picking up adult coloring books by the droves, at bookstores and craft stores, on Amazon.com and even from the Home Shopping Network. The designs appeal to every interest — from whimsical doodles to circular mandalas, nature scenes and fantasy worlds. Coloring not only evokes happy memories of childhood; the act can also foster a sense of well-being and offer a relaxing respite from our digital world. Crafters have known this intuitively for years.

An accumulation of research shows that these creative activities can help you de-stress from everyday pressures. Recent studies suggest that structured, rhythmic endeavors such as coloring, knitting, crocheting or quilting are particularly beneficial because they ease you into a meditative state of mind that allows you to push away negative thoughts and worries.

“These activities engage your hands as well as your mind and your focus,” says art therapist Lacy Mucklow, the author of several best-selling Zen-themed coloring books. “Plus, the repetitive actions release serotonin, the brain transmitter responsible for relaxation.”

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