Stressed out from Finals Week? Relax with Islander-Inspired Adult Coloring Pages

December 02, 2016

Stressed out from Finals Week? Relax with Islander-Inspired Adult Coloring Pages

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Are you sleep deprived from all-night study sessions? Are you mentally exhausted from flipping through flash cards and reading test reviews? Did you wait until the last minute to study for your big test? Have no fear! Islander-inspired adult coloring pages are here to offer a bit of stress relief from finals week. Click here to download. 

“Coloring is wonderful self-care that, thanks to the new trend, thousands of people now find pleasure in,” said Dr. Alison Marks, Staff Psychologist and Outreach Coordinator at the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi University Counseling Center. “Coloring, like meditation, helps us to switch off our brains and get rid of free floating anxiety that may pop up based on situational stressors, like finals week.”

Marks cites a 2005 study that showed when adults color mandalas – a geometric, often symmetrical pattern – their anxiety levels dropped, metabolism was reduced and heightened neural activity – which is associated with the “fight or flight” response – decreased.

"Coloring gives us control and a sense of mastery. We can pick the colors we use; the pages we fill in. We can even start and stop when we like,” said Marks. “It’s unlike our monthly bills, which we can’t pick and choose which to pay; or a class paper, which we shouldn’t choose not to write.”

Dr. Carey Rote, Professor of Art at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, recently led an employee development class for Islander faculty and staff titled “Adult Art Therapy: Is the Hype about Coloring Really True?”

"At the beginning of the class, I asked participants to draw the mirror image of a face or a vase, and you could see the immediate stress it caused the folks without any real art experience,” said Rote. “However, after that first drawing activity, I asked the groups to color in adult coloring pages, and you could see the stress melt away. They were talking, laughing and sharing pencils. It was a completely different vibe. Adult coloring is creative without being threatening."

Rote suggests people who try adult coloring experiment with different types of mediums, including pencils, ink pens, markers and crayons.

"Coloring gives adults sweet memories of their childhood, when it didn’t matter if you stayed in the lines or not,” said Rote. “Also, adult coloring can be this amazing gateway into other forms of art making. It opens up people’s inhibitions about the art world."

Marks cautions that while adult coloring is different from true art therapy – which is facilitated by a licensed art therapist – adult coloring can provide relief from depression, PTSD, and relationship problems, especially when combined with forms of licensed therapy.

"The University Counseling Center has many resources for students who feel adult coloring isn’t enough to take the edge off the stress of finals week,” said Marks. “First appointments can be on a walk-in basis, and only take about 20 minutes."

If Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students would like to learn more about the services offered by the University Counseling Center, they are encouraged to go to http://counseling.tamucc.edu/ or call 361.825.2703.