One of my favorite Christmas gifts in 2016 was an adult coloring book my sixteen-year-old bought for me, along with a gorgeous set of gel pens.
You may have heard of adult coloring books; in fact, I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of them and the splash they’ve made in the last few years among adults all over the world.
Lest you become confused, I can assure you that adult coloring books are not akin to adult bookstores or adult toys. They are simply coloring books much like the ones you used as a child; the difference is that they’re generally printed on higher-quality paper with much more intricate designs and complex patterns.
If you’ve never tried it, now might be a good time to give it a whirl. I’ve been doing some research on the benefits of adult coloring and it turns out the activity is good for people in lots of ways.
1. Coloring in adult coloring books increases mindfulness in the artist. The activity is sometimes even prescribed by mental health professionals in lieu of meditation, as a way for clients to calm down and decrease anxiety.
2. Because adult coloring takes concentration, it diverts focus away from negative thoughts. It’s for this reason that adult coloring is sometimes used as part of the therapy regimen for people suffering from emotional and mental health issues. And because it allows the brain to rest, thereby calming the fight-or-flight response in the brain, it can also be helpful in treating PTSD.
3. Adult coloring uses both the right and left sides of the brain. Not only is the artist using the creative and problem-solving part of the mind, but he or she is also using the part of the brain that controls focus, concentration, and organization.
4. Adult coloring takes us back to childhood, when times were simpler and responsibilities were far fewer.
5. It forces us to unplug!
6. Though I keep referring to the person coloring as the “artist,” you don’t have to be an artist to create something beautiful. Anyone can do it, anytime, anywhere.
7. The use of adult coloring books may aid eyesight, because of the intricate patterns and designs that are employed.
8. As hobbies go, it’s not too expensive. A total of about $25 should buy you a nice coloring book and a good set of colored pencils or gel pens. When compared with hobbies such as surfing, needlepoint, cooking, and a million other activities, it’s a bargain!
9. It can be social! As writers we’re often isolated, spending our days alone with the exception of the characters peopling our imaginations; adult coloring is a healthy hobby that we can do with other people. Host a coloring party: have people bring pens, pencils, crayons, and coloring books—you supply the snacks and drinks. That’s all you need. I’ve been to an adult coloring night at my church and it was one of the most relaxing evenings I’ve had in a long time.
So if you haven’t had a chance to partake in the coloring craze sweeping the globe, do it now! I bought my first coloring book at a local independent bookstore, and that’s still one of the best places I can think of to pick up a coloring book of your own. But you can find them in lots of other stores, too, and online. I know you’re dying to see examples of my own coloring, so here are a few photos:
|A completed picture|
If you’re interested in reading more about adult coloring, take a look at these articles: