In the past year, there was a new activity craze that adults of all ages have been raving about. If you guessed adult coloring books, you’re right. People have been saying how this childhood pastime has been very helpful especially when dealing with stress. Doctors, psychologist, and therapists have recommended it for their patients. My therapist even recommended me to use adult coloring books. At first I was a little skeptical, because how can a coloring book reduce anxiety? I have colored in a coloring book before—it’s been years— but I never saw anything therapeutic about it. Anyways, I ended up buying one at a local book store.
I never seen so many different ones! The ones I have usually seen are the mandalas:
I didn’t like that type of coloring activity…it made me dizzy just looking at it. I wanted one similar to Mischa Fellez’s work (a blogger I wrote an article on a couple months ago). Her art work was more artistic, expressive and free. So I tried to find a coloring book similar to hers. So I came across this book:
It’s a really nice book filled with imaginative lands and creatures…pretty much things you could see in an enchanted forest. Let me show you some of the ones I have colored:
I tried using a special kind of crayon, but it didn’t make my work look good. The crayon I used was too big for some of the miniature illustrations.So I used some of my Copic markers, which was way better.
Copic markers make the illustrations pop! And the best part of these markers is that its ink doesn’t bleed onto the other page.
Since I’ve been coloring in the coloring book, it’s been provided another source of mindfulness for me. For those you don’t know what mindfulness is, according to Berkeley’s Greater Good website, mindfulness is being able to maintain “a moment-by-moment of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment.” Mindfulness helps you to learn to accept well… acceptance and reduce black and white thinking. It pretty much helps you learn how to live in the moment. For example while coloring, I’ve noticed how I’ve been more in the moment and not in another space and time. I’m not overthinking what “appropriate” marker I should use, I just use whatever color comes to mind. And I love using copic markers because I like how its brush caresses the pages of the book. Also coloring increases my focus while engaged in the coloring activity. In a sense, using the right coloring utensils can make a difference when trying to tap into mindfulness. So choose them wisely. Lastly, (this should have been the first thing I mentioned) is how detailed the illustrations are. The patterns come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s more detailed than “whole bodied” illustrations.
So, then mindfulness is really established when coloring. The benefits of mindfulness you will gain are:
- Reduction of negative emotions and stress
- A natural form of natural antidepressants
- An increase of density of gray matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy.
- Development of Focus; distractions are tuned out and memory and attention skills are enhanced
I really noticed how mindfulness came upon me as I began coloring; the roaming thoughts were mellowed out and noise was shoved out. And after coloring, I felt more at peace and focused. The “high” that I developed while coloring stayed within me, because of the way coloring made me feel: happy. There are days where I could go without coloring and I’d still feel good. But if I should ever feel stressed, I would pull out my colored markers and coloring book and go at it…for maybe two hours. And then I’d feel better again.
Now, I’m not one to follow crowds and trends, except if they happen to be in my interest. And well…this one takes the cake. It reminded me how much I used to enjoy drawing and coloring, until anxiety and depression really took over in my early twenties. Now don’t look at adult coloring books as a quick fix for your anxiety or any sort of mental health issues. It’s an activity that is no different any other pastime activity like exercising, horseback riding, bowling or even blogging. It’s meant to be fun and bring out the fun and creative side of you.
Coloring is one of many mindfulness activities you can take part in apart from the typical mediation. So if you get the chance, give it go. I’m sure you’ll like it!
As a little bonus, I will show the work I use to do for fun when I was growing up. I use to draw my favorite characters and it brought me a lot of joy. Enjoy!
For more information:
The Benefits of adult coloring books