Thursday, September 22, 2016

Coloring: Valuable for focus and clarity or waste of time?

Where do you stand on the whole adult coloring trend?

Let me start by going back in time ... here stands a college student at the store with her younger brother and sister (10 and 6 years younger) buying a coloring book. The cashier could safely assume that this coloring book was being purchased for one of these children. Little did she know that the coloring book was being purchased for the college student.

At that time in my life coloring was a way to clear my mind, de-stress, step away from the stress of college and recharge. Mind you these were children's coloring books. The whole adult coloring craze was not to come for many years.

Fast forward to 2012 -- adult coloring books are released and for many they laugh at the idea.
Fast forward to 2015 -- adult coloring has gone from a niche hobby to a full on trend.

So what is adult coloring?

Typically you will find mandalas (circular spaces with geometric designs inside) and artistic intricate designs. They typically have very small spaces to color.

Halloween Graveyard Scene.
What can the benefit of coloring be for adults than?

It can help with stress and anxiety in some people. It stimulates the brain and allows you to focus only on the moment, not all the thought rolling around in your mind. The relaxation that coloring provides lowers the activity in our brain that creates our stress emotions. It is very similar to mediation in this respect. So get out the crayons, markers and pencils and refocus -- even just for a moment. 

Not only does the physical act of coloring let you focus on the moment, but there are also psychological effects. Coloring taps into your imagination. It can take you back to a time where you (more than likely) had less stress, childhood. 

Here is a fun little tidbit for you. Carl Jung was one of the first psychologists to use coloring as a form of therapy. I would like to point out that although coloring has therapeutic attributes, it is not art therapy as some may claim. 

If you want more about the benefits of coloring there are TONS of articles and blog posts about it. 

Let's go back to the question I posed at the beginning of this post - where do you stand on the adult coloring trend? 

I find myself in an interesting place. I gravitate to the coloring books at the store. I open them and I breathe them in. Just looking at them I feel that stress lift. 

I think about actually coloring them in and I feel my stress rise. Here is why -- color schemes. If the colors don't work together I need to start over. Once you start coloring you can't just start over, it doesn't work that way. 

The color scheme attacked this one. I ended up reprinting and redoing (an option only available if you find your page online).

I am in a complete minority when it comes to the research. Research actually showed that doodling had no stress relieving properties. I find drawing the adult coloring page way more relaxing than coloring it! Maybe it requires more focus at the task on hand.


In my household there is an additional benefit of coloring -- connecting with my children in a low stress, no screen way. We are creating memories with that box of crayons. Not to mention how we are developing our confidence, imagination and creativity.  

We will even find ourselves like this ... 

Mommy, can you teach me how to do that?
If you want to learn more about "Color and Connect" click here. It will take you to a post talking all about my new coloring subscription service.  If you just want to shop coloring pages, click here to go right there!

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