ANIMORPHIA, Amazon
ANIMORPHIA, Amazon

10 Intricate Adult Coloring Books to Help You De-Stress

ANIMORPHIA, Amazon
ANIMORPHIA, Amazon

Though coloring is usually a pastime associated with kids, there are plenty of adult coloring books on the market—and there might be benefits for adults who color, too. Some suggest coloring can be used as a relaxation technique, and according to one study published in a 2011 issue of the journal Art Therapy, coloring intricate patterns can reduce anxiety. Researchers from Knox College had 84 college students think about an anxiety-producing situation, then asked them to color either a mandala, a plaid pattern, or a blank piece of paper. The study found that students who were coloring the mandalas and plaid patterns "experienced more reduction in anxiety than did the unstructured coloring group," which suggested that "structured coloring of a reasonably complex geometric pattern may induce a meditative state that benefits individuals suffering from anxiety." (It's worth noting that the students didn't have anxiety disorders, so coloring is probably best for minor anxiety, and not necessarily for clinical anxiety.) Here are a few hyper-detailed coloring books that you can use to help you chill out.

1. LOST OCEAN

This nautical coloring book by Johanna Basford is sure to tickle any seafarer's fancy.

Buy it on Amazon.

2. TROPICAL WORLD

You'll probably want to break out your brightest colored pencils and pens to make the tropical animals of this book really pop.

Buy on Amazon.

3. TIME CHAMBER 

Follow a small fairy as she enters the human world and sees everything from a new viewpoint. Color in the ornate objects that the tiny magical being encounters on her journey.

Buy on Amazon.

4. COLOR THERAPY 

This book was specially made with stress in mind. Each section utilizes a different hue, so users can pick the color that matches their mood. 

Buy on Amazon.

5. COLOR ME CALM

Therapist Lacy Mucklow and artist Angela Porter worked together to create 100 different designs to color when you're feeling stressed out.

Buy on Amazon.

6. SPLENDID CITIES 

This delightful coloring book features a number of different real-life cities like London and Moscow—and some imaginary ones as well.

Buy on Amazon.

7. ANIMORPHIA 

Kerby Rosanes' animals explode into astounding detail that demands to be colored with as many different colors as you have. 

Buy on Amazon.

8. CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL

This coloring book is both relaxing and educational, providing the owner with valuable information about the subjects on each page.

Buy on Amazon.

9. THE ANCIENT ALCHEMY COLORING BOOK

Color in sacred symbols and designs like celtic knots, mandalas, and more.

Buy on Amazon.

10. COLOR YOUR OWN VAN GOGH

Ever see a painting in a museum and think you could have picked out a better color scheme? Now is your chance!

Buy on Amazon.

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iStock
Do 'Close Door' Buttons in Elevators Actually Do Anything?
iStock
iStock

When you’re running late for work, one small comfort is finding an empty elevator waiting for you at your office building. You scurry inside, and since no one else is waiting to enter, you jab the 'close door' button. The doors comply, the elevator starts moving, and you breathe a sigh of relief.

This is a familiar scenario for many, but it’s also a big fat lie. That’s because most of the door-close buttons in U.S. elevators don’t actually work. In fact, they’re programmed that way.

But before you get ready to send off a strongly worded email to your office building’s elevator manufacturer, you may want to hear why this is the case. When the Americans With Disabilities Act was first passed in 1990, certain requirements for elevators were outlined, such as the installation of raised buttons, braille signs, and audible signals.

The act ensured that someone with a disability would have enough time to get inside, stipulating that elevator doors must remain fully open for at least three seconds and thereby preventing the button from cutting that time short. Some elevator manufacturers took it one step further by deactivating the button entirely.

Since the life span of an elevator is about 25 years and the Disabilities Act has been around for 28 years, it’s safe to assume that most of the elevators in operation today do not have a functioning 'close door' button, The New York Times reports. Only firefighters are able to close elevator doors manually through the use of a key.

It's important to note that there are exceptions to this rule, though. As the New York Daily News noted, New York City elevators are required by law to have working 'close door' buttons, even though some operate on a long delay (so long, in fact, that it calls the button's usefulness into question).

However, you’re in luck if you’re taking a lift (which, of course, is British for “elevator”). 'Close door' buttons are fully functional in most elevators in the UK, according to The Telegraph. A spokesman for the Lift and Escalator Industry Association told the newspaper that not all elevators have the button, but when they’re present, they do work. Again, the time it takes for the doors to shut after pressing the button varies from lift to lift.

While U.S. elevator manufacturers have a seemingly good reason for disabling the 'close door' button, some may question the point of propagating the myth and installing a button that serves no purpose in the first place. In response, some would argue that placebo buttons serve an important psychological function in society.

"Perceived control is very important," Harvard psychologist Ellen J. Langer told The New York Times. "It diminishes stress and promotes well-being."

That’s right: By believing that you’re in control of your fate—or at least how quickly you can make it up to the sixth floor—you’re better off. It doesn’t end with elevators, either. Buttons placed at city crosswalks are often disabled, and the thermostats in many office buildings are rigged so that the temperature can’t be altered (even if the numbers appear to change).

Some might swear up and down that elevator 'close door' buttons work, but this, too, could be your brain deceiving you. As author David McRaney wrote in an essay: “If you happen to find yourself pressing a nonfunctional close-door button, and later the doors close, you’ll probably never notice because a little spurt of happiness will cascade through your brain once you see what you believe is a response to your action. Your behavior was just reinforced. You will keep pressing the button in the future.”

According to The New Yorker, these buttons are designed to alleviate some of the subconscious anxiety that comes from stepping inside a tiny box that's hoisted up some 20 or 40 or 80 floors by a cable: “Elevator design is rooted in deception—to disguise not only the bare fact of the box hanging by ropes but also the tethering of tenants to a system over which they have no command."

So now you know: Next time you’re running late to work, take comfort in the fact that those few extra seconds you would’ve saved by pressing a functioning 'close door' button aren’t worth all that much in the long run.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo
This Crafty Bicycle Can Knit a Scarf in 5 Minutes
George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo
George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo

Knitting can be a time-consuming, meticulous task, but it doesn’t need to be. At least not if you’re George Barratt-Jones. As The Morning News spotted, the Dutch designer recently created a human-powered automated knitting machine that can make a scarf while you wait for your train to arrive.

The Cyclo-Knitter is essentially a bicycle-powered loom. As you pedal a stationary bike, the spinning front wheel powers a knitting machine placed on top of a wooden tower. The freshly knitted fabric descends from the top of the tower as the machine works, lowering your brand-new scarf.

Cyclo Knitter by George Barratt-Jones from George Barratt-Jones on Vimeo.

“Imagine it’s the midst of winter,” Barratt-Jones, who founded an online skill-sharing platform called Kraftz, writes of the product on Imgur. “You are cold and bored waiting for your train at the station. This pedal powered machine gets you warm by moving, you are making something while you wait, and in the end, you are left with a free scarf!”

Seems like a pretty good use of your commute down-time, right?

If you're a fan of more traditional knitting methods, check out these knitting projects that can put your needles to work, no bicycle required.

[h/t The Morning News]

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