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Zentangles and Coloring: Stress Relief and Healing


For years I have recommended Mandala Coloring books to patients. The benefits of coloring in adult coloring books was highlighted in a recent article in the New York Times. One doesn't have to be an artist to do it.  In my years of working in Psychiatric units and hospitals. I saw first hand the benefits of Art Therapy with even the most disturbed patient. 
If you think about some of your childhood activities, or those of your own children- coloring, drawing, and creative arts were, or are, very likely a big part of childhood. Do you or did you ever color with your children? Try it-it's fun and can be relaxing. Often in a child assessment, I will ask the child to draw me a picture of their family and/or their home (which usually means they will ask me to draw mine too). It is enjoyable, therapeutic, and can be a valuable addition to an assessment. Children usually enjoy coloring and drawing and I think many adults would too, if they tried it. Two books I recommend are "Color Me Calm" and "Enchanted Forest," (see below). 
In addition to coloring books, I have recently started recommending that patients draw and doodle-specifically, that they try Zentangle. There are many good books, hundreds of videos, and classes one can take. The book I like at the moment is shown below. But go to the local bookstore or online to check out the wide range of coloring and Zentangle books that are available.  Get yourself some good coloring pencils and pens, and get started.

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