When adult coloring books showed up in stores, I snubbed them. I liked the idea but immediately thought this was someone’s way to help adults relive their childhood. It was just another commercial tactic to make adults feel younger. I felt if adults wanted to color, they could just buy a kid’s coloring book.
This past Christmas I was shopping and found an adult coloring book with “happy” designs for $12. The holiday season is not my favorite time of the year, so I decided to buy it. If I was going to hop on the coloring trend train, happy was the way to go.
I’m glad I did. After Christmas, I colored my first page. I was hooked. It was a heart made of butterflies. Those who know me will laugh because I’m not a heart-with-butterflies-kind-of-girl, but I really enjoyed it. Coloring the picture pulled me out of my head, where my to-do list runs on overdrive. The activity relaxed me and made me feel better overall.
I did a little research and learned that art has been used in adult therapy for years. A couple of studies say therapists use art to do the following:
- Build self-esteem
- Relieve stress; reduce anxiety
- Improve motor skills; work both sides of the brain
- Help the mind focus/problem solve
- Deal with/work through emotions
Whether adult coloring does all this is debated, but in my experience, it’s true. After a long day, I pop in a movie, sit on the couch, and color. I control every aspect of the piece, which is sometimes needed after a day of feeling out of control. I listen to the movie and create something I’m proud of while benefiting from the science behind it.
I knit for the same reasons, and coloring gives me another healthy stress outlet. I can’t always work – and don’t try to – but I am a busy-body. My body will not let me just lay there on the couch most nights. I have trouble sitting still and always feel a need to do something. I have lots of nervous energy, and art in any format has been a good outlet.
It also occurred to me that as a writer/proofreader, the last thing I want to do is read or write. Coloring is much easier on my eyes after a 10-hour day on the computer. Hard copies and good lighting are gentle, and there’s no glare. Coloring is somewhat mindless, while reading requires comprehension.
Trying this new trend also taught me that trends aren’t necessarily bad. I don’t pay much attention to them, but this one does have its benefits and I hope it stays for a while. People would feel better if they found healthy ways to deal with stress and slow down.
Here are a few of my pages just for fun. If you color, feel free to share those with us!