Writer: Madeline Cisneros
Jennifer Lynn has always been creating. After graduating from Iowa State University with a fashion design degree in the ’90s, she spent time living in creative hubs like New York City, Los Angeles and Nashville.
Now she’s back in Iowa with a new mission: to use her design skills to create a mental health resource. She’s lost three loved ones — a cousin, a sister and a friend — to suicide within the last 10 years. “It seems like everyone has problems with anxiety,” she said.
So to help, even in a small way, she started collecting positive affirmations and then designed corresponding pages for a new meditative book called “Spiritual Affirmations Coloring Book.” It’s available at Beaverdale Books, Sisters in Valley Junction and online at her website, the coloringcircle.com.
Even though most people learn to color when they’re kids, the activity offers benefits for people of all ages. It can help people relieve stress, embrace the imperfect and practice mindfulness, especially when people focus on their breathing, according to research from the Mayo Clinic.
Lynn noted that the added bonus of her book’s positive affirmations can be “a tool that you have in the back of your mind somewhere to use when you get into a situation that’s challenging,” she said.
Moving forward, she’d like to organize coloring activities with the community. “I’ve been thinking about hosting coloring circles at local Iowa businesses, where we can have a night to color together,” she said.
So coloring, alone or with a group, can be an outlet for creative expression and can help people cope with various challenges. Lynn hopes her book encourages people to see things in a different way and, when things get tough, turn a new page.
Need a break? Try coloring a page from Jennifer Lynn’s “Spiritual Affirmations Coloring Book.”