Try coloring to relax this finals week

With finals week sneaking up on us, it is even more important to find a way to destress quickly. You may not have the time or inclination to take a twenty-minute walk in the mud and snow, but I’m sure you could pull out some colorful pencils or crayons and put on your artist’s beret for five or 10 minutes.
In a study for the Journal of American Art Therapy Association, Nancy A. Curry and Tim Kasser investigated how coloring for 20 minutes, even with a simple design, can reduce stress and anxiety. By coloring a mandala or boxy plaid design, the participants in the study entered a meditative state which helped them find relief from their anxiety and stress. So, if you have a coloring book, the time has come to pull it out and give it some love.
As another bonus, once you have finished your design, you have one more piece of art to brighten up those drab dorm walls which are getting dull after 16 weeks.
A word of caution however: these benefits only apply to those coloring with a design. In the coloring study, the test group which only colored on a blank sheet of paper did not experience the same anxiety reduction as the other test group.
It took more concentration for them to decide what to draw, and they spent more time selecting each color, instead of just coloring. So, if you were thinking of just doodling on scratch paper for five minutes instead of coloring a design, think again.
Fortunately, even if you don’t have one of the ever-more-popular “adult” coloring books, with just a simple Google search you can find hundreds of mandalas and other designs free to print and color. I personally am working on my Lord of the Rings coloring book (I’m sure my roommate appreciates the elves and dragons on my wall).
You could start a design in the morning, study until your brain needs a break, pop in some tunes and jam while you color. Then, you could study a little more until your next break and get back to coloring your picture.
Coloring, unlike breaking out a TV show or movie, doesn’t have a running time or cliffhangers. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about stopping in the middle. I’ve worked on pictures for days and each time I came back it was just as good as before. Also, as a bonus, when you’ve finished studying, you can finish your masterpiece while you catch up on your Netflix binge.
So, the next time you’re feeling stressed and pressed for time, grab some colored pencils, crayons, markers or even highlighters, print off your favorite design and destress in the comfort of your dorm.
It won’t be long before you are destressed and enjoying your colorful dorm walls as you study.

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