I KNEW there was some therapeutic benefit to the Lisa Frank coloring book I purchased last year; I just didn’t know what it was yet. A recent study published in the Creativity Research Journal found that coloring exercises given to 115 young women reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The effects were small and relatively short-term, but did indeed improve participants “mindfulness.” For seven days, the young women would sit down daily and color pictures of animals, mandalas, and nature scenes. Puzzles like Sudoku and word searches were also distributed.

Artnet noted that other researchers, however, warn not to substitute coloring books for more traditional art therapy. “What many of these studies are lacking is the presence of a trained art therapist during the art-making portions of the experiments and the verbal processing of the art product created—both are crucial components of art therapy practice,” write the authors of a recent study in the Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal.

But in terms of spending a few minutes winding down, coloring is just as worthwhile an option as other ~chill~ hobbies like gardening or cooking. Time to bust out that Lisa Frank adult coloring book.

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