A few years ago, Shelli Johnson suffered a debilitating injury that left her coping with daily pain, and she said she slid into depression.
So she wrote the books she needed to read to find a positive direction.
“I wrote these books because I was struggling in my life. I wanted and needed practical and easy steps I could take to address those things that were causing me challenges in my life,” the Lake Wylie resident said. “I also needed to give myself time to relax and rejuvenate. So I simply wrote the books I needed to read.”
“Color Your Way to a Life You Love” is a series of eight self-help adult coloring books. The series includes topics such as “Overcome Fear,” “Get Out of Your Own Way,” “Forgive Yourself,” “Let Go” and “Crush Self-Doubt.”
“I was struggling with each of the areas I write about, and I knew I needed small, easy and do-able steps to heal myself,” Johnson said. “I’m a big believer in the power of small steps to get you anywhere you need or want to go, which is why the books are written the way they are: small daily activities that build one upon the next.”
Focused on relaxation, self-reflection and personal growth, these small daily activities include calming breathing techniques, taking time for self-care and allowing quiet time to listen to intuition. Each book has blank journal pages for writing and contemplation and is set up as a 30-day plan to address a specific issue.
“Neuroscience says it takes roughly 30 days of repetition to create new neural pathways, which in turn create new habits and new behaviors,” Johnson said. “It’s the new habits and behaviors that will get a person unstuck and help propel them forward toward a life they are excited to be living.”
With a passion for combining words and images, she chose to create coloring books because of the benefits of coloring. She said coloring has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, increase focus, alleviate negative thought patterns such as fear and worry and stimulate creativity.
“Coloring is also incredibly freeing because it lets a person just be themselves, with no pressure to produce, compete, impress, win, do it right and a myriad of other stressful things they may deal with on a regular basis,” she said.
Each book offers a brief explanation of the psychology of color and how certain colors correspond to specific emotions, feelings or moods.
“From my layman’s understanding of the meaning of colors, certain colors can evoke certain emotions,” she said. “That way, if you’re looking to experience a particular emotion, feeling or mood, you might want to use a particular color to help you get there.”
Writing the books gave her something to focus on and brought her joy. It gave her a sense of purpose in the moment, showed her how to find happiness in her life again and helped her heal her mental state even though the physical pain hadn’t fully subsided, she said.
“I wrote these books because I needed to heal myself. It was changing my thinking, reinforcing new beliefs about myself, discovering my talents and passions, then taking action to create a life I loved which ultimately freed me,” Johnson said. “My hope is that these books will serve to do that for others.”
Each book costs $9.95 and includes motivational instructions, inspirational quotes, and encouraging daily steps to help the reader create a life he/she loves. Each book also includes 60 relaxing images to color and journal pages to record thoughts.
Johnson is a former journalist and editor. She’s also written a novel, “Small as a Mustard Seed,” which was the grand prize winner in the Writer’s Digest International Book Awards and also won a Silver Medal for Literary Fiction from the Military Writers Society of America.