By Renee Hobbs

Coloring in coloring books used to be associated with kids, but now is taking on a whole new audience: adults. You can find all kinds of coloring books on the shelves of most of your favorite local shops, the grocery store or even a convenience store.

Apollo Beach resident Diane Owen works at the Green Boutique in Valrico and said, “We couldn’t keep the coloring books in the store. We got new ones all the time.” High school student and FishHawk resident Morgan Gardner said even her age group is into this trend. Dr. Ben Michaelis, a well known clinical psychologist based in New York City, explained, “In reality this practice was around about a hundred years ago with psychologist Carl Jung, using this as one way of relaxation. During the last six months I have received a lot of questions from across the country about this exercise. I have been using this for a number of years. I have seen results. One of the reasons I suggest this activity is that it is a short term release that can be beneficial in the long run. Coloring takes you back to the simple times, reminding you of your childhood.”

Michaelis has written a book that explains the coloring technique, Your Next Big Thing: 10 Small Steps to Get Moving and Happy. Michaelis said the book also describes the importance of play in your life and added, “There is so much evidence that when we are playful and creative, it is better for our physical and mental health.”

Occupational therapists are using coloring books for their senior patients and Michaelis explained, “Studies show that older people that maintain creative activities are less likely to end up in the emergency room or get sick.” Michaelis credits the 2013 release of Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book by Johanna Basford with the resurgence of coloring. According to Amazon, the book has been translated into 14 languages and sold more than a million copies making the book one of the best selling on Amazon. Celebrities are also getting in on the fun with Victoria Beckham showing off her artistic ability on Instagram and Kate Hudson was spotted indulging in the activity on a plane. For more information about coloring benefits, visit drbenmichaelis.com or visit your favorite local shop to get your own book.