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Are Coloring Books and Video Games Good Stress Relievers?

Posted by on Mar. 30, 2016 at 11:45 AM
  • 8 Replies

Dear Adults Who Use Coloring Books & Play Candy Crush, Grow the Freak Up

adults need to grow upI'm sorry, adult coloring books -- I don't get you. Maybe it's because you were never high on my list of favorite activities as a kid -- what with my mom and teachers insisting on that "stay inside the lines" business and all. So, I don't see how you've made this recent comeback. But don't worry; you're not alone. Would-be grown-ups seem to be embracing more and more childhood pleasures, and I think I know why.

I mean, I get it. Who doesn't want a little downtime to space out and forget the responsibilities of day-to-day adult life? Whether it be work or financial stressors, caring for children and aging parents, or relationship woes, the average person has plenty on her plate.

But is spending your 45-minute commute playing Candy Crush the answer? While initially I'd say "no," based on the number of people I watch pushing their thumbs to the keypad, I'd say I'm wrong.

Sure, at first, it seems like a stress-reliever, but many's the time I've been seated beside a man in a tailored suit who's reduced to punching his own thighs in rage when his Floppy Bird doesn't cooperate.

I have to bite my tongue not to say, as I often do to my 10-year-old, "It seems like this game is upsetting you. Why don't you turn off your device, take a deep breath, and go outside." Except, wait, this is a grown freakin' man -- on a train!

What happened to reading a book or just simply staring into space? 

And then there are vision boards. Have you seen these? Adults are getting together (sometimes they even pay upwards of $40 to attend a session) with stacks of old magazines to cut and glue pictures to a poster board. Why? Because these pseudo art projects are supposed to help them "get clear" on their hopes and dreams for the future.

From career goals to your yoga practice, if you envision it, and then paste it to cardboard, surely you can achieve it! (Said no one ever.) I'm all for setting goals, and if it helps to put them in writing, go for it, but you can't pretend that this doesn't bear a striking resemblance to decorating your high school locker. You've just traded in your aerosol hairspray for a glass of Malbec and Seventeen magazine for Robb Report

Believe me, I understand what it's like to want a break from adulthood. I remember shortly after I had my first child, I saw a teenage boy peel out of a Burger King drive-through with a Whopper in one hand and a cigarette in the other. As crazy as it sounds, I had such envy in that moment. Here was a guy who didn't care about his lungs, his cholesterol, or his safety -- considering he was steering with his knees. It's not that I wanted his burger or his Camel light, but rather his "I don't have a care in the world" attitude is what I coveted. 

We all find ourselves at times wishing we could dodge the burdens of being a grown-up. But it seems like some adults are forsaking the once-cathartic physical exertion of a long run or in-person chat with a friend for a few moments alone with their smartphone and Clash of Clans.

Can returning to crayons and glue sticks really offer comfort amid the chaos of our day-to-day lives? Or, should we take a moment to figure out what's causing us to seek solace in these playthings of the past? For many, it seems like they they'd happily return to the days when the only thing to battle and potentially outrun was Ms. Pac-Man. 

I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that these activities are becoming more widespread and beloved, but if my financial adviser asks me to create a diorama of how I plan to spend my retirement, I can't be held responsible for my actions.

How do you relieve stress or take a break from everyday responsibilities?

by on Mar. 30, 2016 at 11:45 AM
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Replies (1-8):
by Nancy on Mar. 30, 2016 at 1:47 PM

I usually read or embroider.  I will play some games on my tablet but nothing that involves more than one person.

by Platinum Member on Mar. 30, 2016 at 2:07 PM

I actually do enjoy coloring and drawing and it can be relaxing to me.  But I just buy a regular childs coloring book or print a picture off line,or draw one of my own.  Video games are not my  

If I need to relax I usually got outside for a walk or a drive in the countryside.  If I can't do that its a good book, cozy blanket and quiet time.

by Bronze Member on Mar. 30, 2016 at 3:30 PM

I dont find video games relaxing in the least.... never have.  I really dont enjoy gaming at all.  If I need to relieve stress then I usually do something that makes me sweat.... long walk, hard hike, ride, used to run.  That relieves my stress.

by Lisa on Mar. 30, 2016 at 3:34 PM

I do all sorts of things. I read, color, and play games.

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by Louann on Mar. 30, 2016 at 4:07 PM

I think it is for a lot of people

by Gold Member on Mar. 30, 2016 at 9:19 PM

I think they are good stress relievers!  I used to color, when my son was little and we had lots of coloring books and crayons in the house.  Like any creative outlet (mine is singing), it can be a fun distraction, a way of giving the brain and the nervous system a mini-vacation.  My family laughs at me but my stress reliever has always been watching cartoons.  I enjoy watching the old Nick cartoons like Hey Arnold and The Fairly Oddparents.  Total stress relief there.  I don't play video games but other stress relievers for me have always been cooking and reading in addition to my music.  My husband watches old steam railroad films.  My son & his wife play video games together - it's one activity they truly enjoy together at the end of the day.  They both have busy lives - she's a banker, he's a police officer- and they have 2 little kids and a house, and this is one way they relax and have fun.

american flag ribbon

by Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 7:41 AM

As part of a middle school project to go with a short story our group of moms and daughters made dream boards. Almost everything I put on mine at the time has come to pass or will in the next two years. I see this piece of poster board every morning and evening as it near the light switch in my bedroom. As each goal is achieved, I place the date on or under it.  

I rediscovered how relaxing it was to color when this same child was in elementary school and we would lay on the living room floor and do it together. I have a variety of colored pens, pencils, and markers I can use depending on my mood. I have been coloring to relieve stress since before it became a fad.  It beats mindless eating.

I have never been very good at video games, but if I am stuck waiting at home, I will play Bejeweled Blitz on my computer since each game takes less than two minutes. If I am away and have my Kindle┬« or my phone I am more likely to read one of the books on those devices.  I read a lot of  actual books and magazines, too. 

I don't smoke, rarely drink, and allergies and asthma prevent my being a person who can really enjoy nature walks or jogging for relaxation. It is hard to relax when you can't breathe.

My favorite stress reliever is cooking with music turned up so I can belt out songs and dance around the kitchen. I also find that deep cleaning a room or decluttering an area relieves my stress. This usually takes planning as I don't often have large blocks of time available to devote to it, but the satisfaction I get from tackling such a project is great.

by on Apr. 1, 2016 at 12:54 PM

The author sounds like she needs to light up and color a picture or play a game of solitaire or maybe make a collage out of meaningless pictures. There is no age limit on coloring or playing video games. Yes, adults play them to relax or just to waste time. 

To the author ... CHILAX!  

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