If you haven’t noticed, adult coloring books have kind of become “a thing”. The question is, why? And why is it only now that this trend has really kicked into high gear?
Well, first off, this has a lot to do with the pace and hectic nature of modern life in the western world. People are busier, more distracted, more over-committed, and more divided than at any other time in history. And it is in this context that an activity like adult coloring has emerged as such a soothing, therapeutic counterbalance to all the insanity.
Think for a moment about what coloring does for us.
First off, it centers you. Why? Because it’s just the right balance between focus and relaxation. You need to concentrate enough to complete the task, but it is not taxing concentration. It is not heavy brain work. It is a mindfulness task. It lets you relax into a new state of being, much like meditation.
Secondly, it engages the creative, flow-state aspects of brain chemistry. In other words, it lets your brain work out the part of itself that never gets used enough. So often in modern life the creative brain is trumped by rational, left brain activities. Adult coloring lets your right brain take the wheel for a while. And that inherently brings balance to your being.
Thirdly, coloring is collaborative creation. It combines the creative talents of the original artist who created the coloring book image, with the imagination, eye and talent of the individual who’s “dressing it up” in their own creative image. This kind of collaborative creation again hits just the right balance of being engaging without being taxing.
Fourthly, adult coloring fires off pleasure receptors in your brain as your own coloring begins to “explode” onto the page. As you make conscious choices about color, the pleasure centers of your brain respond by sending soothing, healing substances through your brain and body. In this sense it is the ultimate gift of self-love. You know what colors inspire you. And by creating something beautiful and inspiring, you’re healing yourself; bathing yourself in goodness.
Fifthly (and yes, I could go on, but we’ll leave it here for now!), an adult coloring book leaves you with a tangible memento of a positive, creative, mindful, relaxing experience. As you peruse through the pages of a coloring book you’ve brought to life with vivid hues, you’ll be able to bask in that goodness time and time again. And in this sense this is the kind of gift that just keeps on giving.
When I say there’s more I could say, I really do mean it. The adult coloring book craze has really taken off because it is so good for us on so many levels. It is as healing and therapeutic as it is enjoyable and creative. And it is the perfect counterbalance to a world so often rushing about and divided in a hundred different directions all at once. So do yourself, and the world, a favor. Pick up an adult coloring book, some pencil crayons, and a cup of tea, and start manifesting beauty and tranquility into your world.