Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

UNF Researcher: Complex Coloring Can Be A Stress Reliever

Colonel Warden
Wikimedia Commons
A Chenrezig Sand Mandala created and exhibited at the House of Commons on the occasion of the visit of the Dalai Lama on May 21, 2008.

Stressed-out adults may want to sit down with a box of colored pencils and a coloring book.

That’s because a University of North Florida researcher says the activity can be an effective stress reliever.

UNF Psychology Professor Tracy Alloway directed a study of a small group of military veterans who said they suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Alloway said she had them color a mandala, which is a complex, geometric design from the Sanskrit word for “circle.” 

Give It A Try: Mandala Coloring Pages That Can Be Printed Or Colored Online

“Research has suggested that a mandala provides a very mindful or meditative aspect. You get very focused on the symmetry, the circular aspect of it and it can be a very calming influence,” Alloway said.

The veterans reported being less on-edge after just 20 minutes of coloring.

“And it’s great to know that we could find a quick way that they could even start doing on their own to be able to minimize some of the stressful and anxiety related symptoms,” Allow said.

She is now conducting a study with seniors in care facilities to see if coloring a mandala could benefit them as well.  

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.