Are Adult Coloring Books Just a Fad?

Adult coloring books have exploded in the past year but the concept has been around since the 1920’s. Coloring is said to have a calming effect on the mind and can do wonders for your overall health.

Mindfulness

When you sit down to color, your mind has to focus on the task at hand. You begin to think more about which color would look great for the sky instead of why your co-worker keeps throwing you under the bus.

Spending too much of your day worrying about the past and the future can start to wear on you. Coloring, whether it’s in a book or simply on a piece of blank paper, can drive you to the present moment.

Be a kid again

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid I loved to color. Today the only creative activities I do are centered around work or making money. Did I mention that I’m a designer?

To color for the fun of it sounds brilliant. I’ve always envied the neighbors who get to color all day long on the sidewalks. Would you do a double-take if you saw a thirty-year-old coloring on the sidewalk with no kids nearby? And really why should I care?

Why do the things we do as children have to stop when we grow old?

Sales for coloring books have skyrocketed due to the recent articles published on the health benefits of coloring. You know you’re an adult when you wait to do something that looks fun until you read an article saying it’s good for you.

I think if you’re going to take away anything from reading this mumbo-jumbo it’s that you shouldn’t stop doing the things you enjoyed as a kid simply because you grew older.

Hopscotch to happiness I always say…

Creativity

Creativity depends on being able to think clearly to give in to our imagination. 

If someone asked you to draw a dog, what would you start drawing? Seems like a stupid question doesn’t it?

The majority of people over the age of 18 would try to draw a realistic looking dog. It would have two ears, four legs and maybe a tail (depending on your breed of choice).

When we get older we start to lose our ability to be imaginative. If you asked a three year old to draw a dog it might look like something else altogether.

It’s not that they don’t know what a dog looks like, it’s that they don’t feel they need to follow the rules yet. They haven’t learned what it’s like to be right or wrong. 

With art there is no right or wrong. There is just art.

Coloring can open up your brain to creativity and improve other areas of your life in turn.

Too busy

When’s the last time you weren’t busy? In the U.S. we tend to say we’re busy like it’s something to be proud of.

If you’re not busy you must be a failure.

But are we really too busy? Or do we fill every minute with meaningless TV shows and mindless web surfing to know how much free time we actually have.

Being busy should not be a badge of honor. We should try to disengage with work and mindless actions more often. 

Coloring is a great way to relax and unwind and forget about reading another blog post (except for this one of course). Color just for the sake of coloring.

Psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala explains how coloring can help us relax.

The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements]. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.

The next time you feel the need to keep busy, grab a coloring book and unwind. It’s ok to leave work behind and enjoy yourself. It might even help you be more productive when you are working.

So what’s the best way to get started coloring?
Choose a coloring book that has a subject matter appealing to you. I chose travel themed books (1 and 2). Choose whatever makes you feel good. You don’t need to have a reason.

Pick up a big set of markers or colored pencils. Not a 10-pack, a pack of at least 30 or more to give you a wide variety of colors. I purchased these markers and I also have some Tombow Dual Brush markers that are equally as fun to create with.

Happy coloring!

Sarah Shuda

Sarah Shuda

Designer. Mom. Wife. Loves Gilmore Girls, healthy living and a good cup of coffee.

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