Adult coloring books aren't just fun. A gamut of research suggests that they're also therapeutic.
Psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala tells The Huffington Post that coloring “brings out our imagination and takes us back to our childhood, a period in which we most certainly had a lot less stress.”
Ayala explains that coloring in these books involves both logic (by which we color forms) and creativity (mixing and matching colors). This combination incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills, and it actually lowers the activity of the amygdala, a part of the brain involved in controlling emotion affected by stress. In other words, adult coloring books can actually help to destress us after a long day at work or a tough week in the office. When we focus on coloring and not on the clutter happening in our minds, we relax.
Because coloring has such a powerful effect on adults, too, many publishers around the world have started creating coloring books specifically for adults. For example, the French publisher Hachette has a collection called Art-Thérapie with 20 de-stress volumes, while, in the UK, illustrator Mel Simone Elliot's coloring books like the Colour Me Good series are popular.
Here are 35 of the most cathartic adult coloring books (including free ones!) to test out just how relaxing they are for yourself.
Adult Coloring Books Full of Intricate Designs
1. Color Me Stress-Free by Lacy Mucklow
2. Outside the Lines: An Artists’ Coloring Book for Giant Imaginations by Souris Hong-Porretta
3. Mandala Designs Adult Coloring Book by Peter Pauper Press
4. Good Vibes Coloring Book by Thaneeya McArdle
5. Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Designs Animals, Mandalas, Flowers, Paisley Patterns and So Much More by Cindy Elsharouni
6. Posh Adult Coloring Book by Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC
7. Balance (Angie's Extreme Stress Menders) by Angie Grace
8. The Mindfulness Coloring Book by Emma Farrarons
9. Stress Less Coloring: Paisley Patterns by Adams Media
10. Joyful Designs Adult Coloring Book by Joy Ting
Adult Coloring Books with Animals and Nature
11. Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Animal Designs by Dan Morris
12. Creative Haven SeaScapes Coloring Book by Patricia J. Wynne
13. The Art of Nature Coloring Book by Adams Media
14. Dinosaurs With Jobs by Theo Nicole Lorenz
15. The Amazing World Of Horses: Adult Coloring Book by Cindy Elsharouni
16. Creative Haven Art Nouveau Animal Designs Coloring Book by Marty Noble
17. Adult Coloring Book: Butterflies and Flowers: Stress Relieving Patterns by Cherina Kohey
19. Animal Zentangles by Zhena Khasha
20. Life of the Wild: A Whimsical Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Animal Designs by Karen Sue Chen
Fun and Totally Random Adult Coloring Books
21. Colour Me Good: Ryan Gosling by Mel Elliott
22. The 1990s Coloring Book by James Grange
23. Disney Dreams Collection Thomas Kinkade Studios Coloring Book by Thomas Kinkade
24. Coloring Book of Shadows: Planner for a Magical 2019 by Amy Cesari
25. Farting Magical Creatures Coloring Book by M.T. Lott
26. Coloring Book for Adults: Amazing Swirls by Happy Coloring
27. Unicorns Are Jerks by Theo Nicole Lorenz
28. Fantasy Collection: An Adult Coloring Book (Mermaid, Fairies, Vampires, Dragons and More!) by Jade Summer
30. Cats in Space Coloring Book by Strange Design Coloring Books
Free Adult Coloring Books
31. Color by Teazel Limited
32. ColorWolf by Anatoli (Tolik) Eidelman
33. Coloring Pages by Rory Buckley
34. Coloring Book Adults & Kids by NewRain
Coloring Book by 曾尚辉35.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.