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Here’s Why A Coloring Book Is The Best Gift For A Stressed Adult

Here’s Why A Coloring Book Is The Best Gift For A Stressed Adult

Are you looking for a way to relax or destress? Or, perhaps you are you looking for a fun and unique gift? If so, an adult-targeted coloring book may be just what you are looking for.

Why a coloring book for adults?

Coloring has been with most of us since childhood, but many of us as adults can rediscover the joy this hobby has to offer.

It all started in 2011, when a British publisher asked Johanna Basford to draw a children’s coloring book. Basford suggested that she should draw a coloring book aimed at adults instead, and she managed to convince her publisher.

The publisher ordered an initial print run for thirteen thousand copies of Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book. Since its release, the book has sold over two million copies worldwide.

Currently, six of the top 20 selling books on Amazon are coloring books for adults. According to the Huffington Post, “The unlikely pastime for those of us who have successfully graduated from kindergarten has been gaining popularity of late, as an easy means to express oneself and de-stress along the way.”

The Benefits Of Coloring For Adults

For starters, The Guardian calls them “terribly therapeutic.”

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“I’ve heard from so many people ranging from lawyers, financial advisers, business owners and busy mums, all say the same thing: that colouring in helps them relax. Then there’s people who are recuperating from illness or dealing with a difficult time in their lives, they too find the calming, almost meditative effects of colouring is beneficial to them.” Johanna Bradford

Coloring has been shown reduce stress because many of the books use geometric shapes and soothing patterns to relieve anxiety. Marti Faist, an art therapist, told the Baltimore Sun, “When someone is coloring, their mind and body are operating in a more integrated way. It’s almost a meditative process.”

Marti is not alone. Carl Jung was a big fan of art therapy, and he used coloring as a relaxation technique back in the early 1900s. Jung himself used to draw and color mandalas, or spiritual geometric shapes, every morning. These same mandalas are the foundation of a lot of the most popular stress-relieving coloring books today.

Coloring Books To Help You Destress

Today, there’re hundreds of coloring books for adults to choose from. The choices range from meditative Mandalas to stress-relieving options like Color Me Stress-Free. I am sure that you can find a coloring book to match your interests. Here are five of the best-selling adult-targeted coloring books to help you relax and destress.

Anti-Stress Colouring Book for Adults

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Anti-Stress Adult Coloring Book

    This series of coloring books has a specific focus: to help you destress in a work environment. It has been so effective that several Australian companies have given this book to their employees.

    The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People

    Mindfulness Coloring Adult Book

      This is a fun and unique pocket-sized coloring book designed to channel stress into relaxing, creative accomplishments. Mindful coloring is a simple, yet powerful, practice that combines the proven, time-honored tradition of thoughtful meditation with the growing popularity of adult coloring. It shows that any activity, done right, can be an exercise in mindfulness.

      Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation

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      Color Me Calm Adult Coloring Book

        Color Me Calm is a guided coloring book designed for stressed-out adults. It includes 100 coloring templates including Mandalas, water scenes, wooded scenes, geometric patterns, wildlife imagery, natural patterns, and spirituality-focussed templates — all designed to help you get coloring and get relaxed.

        Color Me Stress-Free: 100 Coloring Templates to Unplug and Unwind

        Color Me Stress Free

          This is the perfect book for stressed-out adults who want to become stress-free. It provides a simple and inexpensive way to relieve stress with its soothing images.

          The Big Book of Mandalas Coloring Book

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          Mandalas Coloring Book

            The Big Book of Mandalas provides tranquility and a creative release with 200 customizable mandala illustrations. As you color in each mandala, your focus will shift, allowing you to fully relax your mind. Whether you’re new to the practice or have been using mandalas for years, The Big Book of Mandalas will bring you inner calm and maximized creativity, one coloring page at a time.

            If you are looking for even more coloring books to help you relax, take a look at 17 Colouring Books That Every Grown-Up Needs, Adult Colouring Books: 17 Of Our Favourite Books, and The Best Coloring Books For Beginners. These lists will help you find the best coloring book to match your interests.

            Adult coloring is a fun and creative way to decompress from the stress of your day. Buy one for yourself, or buy two and give one to a friend and color together. It’s a fun hobby, and once you start you’ll find it difficult to put your colored pencils and markers down.

            Featured photo credit: Photomarathon: Patterns/Maxime De Ruyck via flickr.com

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            Last Updated on January 15, 2021

            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

            The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

            Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

            Posture

            First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

            • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
            • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
            • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
            • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

            All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

            Facial Expressions

            Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

            • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
            • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
            • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

            If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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            1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

            A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

            The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

            This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

            2. Relax Your Face

            New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

            The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

            To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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            3. Improve Your Eye Contact

            Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

            The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

            To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

            3. Smile More

            There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

            Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

            4. Hand Gestures

            Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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            It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

            5. Enhance Your Handshake

            In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

            “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

            It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

            6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

            As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

            Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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            Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

            Final Takeaways

            Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

            If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

            More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

            Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

            Reference

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