Earlier this year, during a weekend getaway to the mountains, a friend of mine brought out a bunch of coloring books and crayons. No, there were no kids around—the group was all 20- and 30-somethings—and for a few moments, we looked at her like she was a little insane.

We finally gave in (it was either that or Monopoly), and after a couple of hours, we all felt more relaxed than we had in a long time. And a little more creative, too.

Turns out, adult coloring is a thing—a thing that has been around for several decades but has just recently gained mainstream popularity. The activity, experts say, has a brain-quieting, stress-reducing effect on always-on professionals.

Think about it: When was the last time your mind stayed focused so intently on something that wasn’t a screen? Plus, as psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala tells The Huffington Post, coloring “brings out our imagination and takes us back to our childhood, a period in which we most certainly had a lot less stress.”

You can learn more about the benefits here and here, but if you want to take my word for it and dive right in, here’s a list of 21 coloring books, designed for adults, that you can order right now.

From beautiful seascapes to Ryan Gosling illustrations (yes, really), pick one you love, then tell us how it goes on Twitter!


Intricate Patterns and Designs


1. Joyful Designs Adult Coloring Book by Joy Ting

Joyful Designs Adult Coloring Book


2. Posh Adult Coloring Book by Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC

Posh Adult Coloring Book


3. Outside the Lines: An Artists’ Coloring Book for Giant Imaginations by Souris Hong-Porretta

Outside The Lines Adult Coloring Book


4. Color Me Stress-Free by Lacy Mucklow

Color Me Stress Free Adult Coloring Book


5. Stress Less Coloring: Paisley Patterns by Adams Media

Stress Less Adult Coloring Book


6. Mandala Designs Adult Coloring Book by Peter Pauper Press

Mandala Designs Adult Coloring Book


7. The Mindfulness Coloring Book by Emma Farrarons

 Mindfulness Adult Coloring Book


Animals, Nature, and Cityscapes


8. Animal Zentangles by Zhena Khasha

Animal Zenrangles Adult Coloring Book


9. The Art of Nature Coloring Book by Adams Media

Art of Nature Adult Coloring Book


10. Creative Haven Owls Coloring Book by Marjorie Sarnat

Owls Adult Coloring Book


11. Creative Haven Art Nouveau Animal Designs Coloring Book by Marty Noble

Art Nouveau Animal Designs Adult Coloring Book


12. Creative Haven SeaScapes Coloring Book by Patricia J. Wynne

Sea Scapes Adult Coloring Book


13. Creative Haven Wild Animal Portraits Coloring Book

Wild Animal Adult Coloring Book


14. Fantastic Cities by Steve McDonald

Fantastic Cities Adult Coloring Book


15. Dia De Los Muertos Coloring Pages by Chiquita Publishing

Color Dia Adult Coloring Book


Fun and Slightly Ridiculous


16. Dinosaurs With Jobs by Theo Nicole Lorenz

Dinosaurs with Jobs Adult Coloring Book


17. The 1990s Coloring Book by James Grange

1990s Adult Coloring Book


18. Tattoos Inspired Coloring by Parragon Books

Inspired Coloring Tattoos Adult Coloring Book


19. Unicorns Are Jerks by Theo Nicole Lorenz

Unicorns & Jerks Adult Coloring Book


20. Colour Me Good: Ryan Gosling by Mel Elliott

Colour Me Good Adult Coloring Book


21. Color Your Own Famous American Paintings by Marty Noble

Adult Coloring Book