Colouring helps me beat anxiety says Caitriona

By Caitriona Mc Mahon   @catriona_Mac

I have often used phrases like ”I’m feeling a bit blue” over the years without a second thought – but I never thought adult colouring could help bring me peace.

I had been prone to a spot of oil painting in the past and I was searching for something that needed a little less prep and clean up.


One day as I scrolled through Twitter, there it was in less than 140 characters . The words ‘Adult Colouring Books Now Available’.

The more I looked into these colouring books the more excited I became. The search was on to find a store in Limerick that stocked them.

Before long there I was, surrounded in markers and a carefully selected book on my lap. For me this would hopefully be a coping tool for my anxiety. So off I took marker to paper.

Now I like to think I’m a patient woman but what happened next nearly drove me to tears.  The marker was so hard to use on these books.

Cleary it must be me? Right? So back to the faithful Twitter I took to vent about this horrendous ordeal. Apparently I was one of many facing this struggle. Then the majestic idea of colouring pencils was suggested.

One of Catriona's colourings
One of Catriona’s colourings

The discovery of colouring pencils was a complete game changer. All sorts of pencils exist, ranging from cheap to sell-your-car-expensive.

Duo tip are my personal favourite. These have different colours on either end and are a pleasure to sharpen.

Now when I colour, I enter a state of bliss. Thoughts pass through but none stick. The colours pick themselves as I glance at the page. Each colour I chose depicting my feelings and mood at that very moment. It carries with it a sense of achievement to see the final product.

Another aspect of colouring that excites me is the fact I can bring it anywhere. Waiting in the car, on a work lunchbreak, anywhere. Colouring brings me into the now.

Bursting with colour:  Caitriona feels peace when she puts pencil to paper
Bursting with colour: Caitriona feels peace when she puts pencil to paper

It makes everyday distractions blend away into the background and instead a kind of ease replaces it.  I’ve met many people with anxiety that rely heavily on colouring as a coping mechanism.

But it’s not only anxiety sufferes that can benefit. Colouring is for everyone, any place and at anytime.

Everyone’s true colours will show eventually.

Caitriona Mc Mahon is co-founder of Community Crisis Response Team – a voluntary suicide intervention team that enters people’s homes to help those feeling suicidal.

She has suffered depression and anxiety and uses colouring books to help with anxiety.


One thought on “Colouring helps me beat anxiety says Caitriona

  • June 13, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I just don’t know why we should stop doing things we enjoyed as kids just because we become adults!
    I sometimes feel a bit jealous of all the toys in my sons room and wish I had lots of toys to play with sometimes haha That’s probably why I enjoy playing with my son so much because I am a playful person! I was as a child and don’t see why I should stop just because I’m ‘all grown up’!
    Is that weird?


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