Adult Coloring Books – Reduce Your Stress!
Adult Coloring books have recently been coming up in conversation quite frequently both on-line and during in-person conversations. The other day, I saw a selection of adult coloring books in the checkout line of the grocery store! Why are adults suddenly buying these coloring books? Have we all just decided to become 7 years old again? Not quite.
WHY ADULT COLORING BOOKS?
I did some investigating into why people were now coloring as adults. I actually read several articles and the greatest common denominator is, without surprise: stress relief. There are adult coloring books that are specifically designed and labeled with claims to help with stress relief, calm, to give a creative outlet, and many more claims.
“It creates an object of focus, and it creates something that’s beautiful and that’s satisfying.” – Sarah Deaver, President of the American Art Therapy Association, stated to the Globe.
EXPERIENCING IT FOR MYSELF
I recently purchased “Secret Garden – An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book” by Johanna Basford from Amazon. My mission: to see what the rage is all about! Why on earth are people buying these? Are the actually coloring in their spare time? I remember that I used to love coloring. Why did I stop doing that? Did someone just tell me I was too old for it and I believed them. It’s really sort of sad when you think about it. The things that brought you joy as a child – you don’t do them anymore. You are now relatively stressed – some more than others and you don’t have fun like you did when you were 8. You try – but it’s not the same.
Upon the arrival my very first adult coloring book, I immediately ran to the nearest Wal-Mart and purchased a pack of 72 colored pencils for around $5, a pencil sharpener and a pencil box. I then immediately went home and decided I was going to color the book from front to back in order and I would color a page every day or so. Well, I quickly learned that it doesn’t work that way.
The pages of my coloring book (as is the case with many adult coloring books) were drawn quite intricately. The first night I decided to color, I was highly irritated at my husband for something silly and just decided to try out that coloring book because I was just aggravated and wanted to do something different. Once I began coloring, I suddenly became super focused on color placement and realized I spent 1 hour and only completed this much:
I have no idea why I thought I would just zip through the coloring page in 20 minutes.
I think it was because it never took longer than that to color a page when I was a kid.
This is an exercise of patience and focus. When I was done I realized something. I was no longer aggravated with my husband and I didn’t even remember why I was annoyed with him in the first place. I never finished that page. I decided I would go back to it another time.
The second page I decided to color was more toward the center of the book. I just thought it was cute and decided I felt like coloring some fish. This page took me approximately 2 hours to color. I colored it in 2 separate 1-hour sessions after getting stressed out and irritated with the world. I want to say that I had the very same result. I absolutely was much more calm and it was as if I hadn’t even been stressed out before I started coloring.
I am naturally a pretty wound-up person a lot of the time. I am absolutely someone that needs to find as many healthy, creative outlets as possible for my frustration. (I also took up drums a few years ago for the same reason — which also works!)
Johanna Basford did a beautiful job at illustrating some of the most gorgeous secret gardens for us to enjoy and color. There were so many in the book, I initially had a difficult time choosing which garden I wanted to color. I think I picked the fish garden because it was the only fish picture in the book and it just caught my eye. There is even a treasure hunt to do as you are coloring the pages – which sort of give you a second little project. It was fun to interpret her drawing and decide which fish would be a girl and which would be a boy. I got to decide what colors the plants got to be and whether or not I would paint them to look like real, existing plants or like plants from a fantasy planet. My options seemed endless.
I just want to take a moment and mention that I am in NO WAY an artist. I can’t draw anything at all unless I trace it. It’s not like I am a professional coloring artist (if there is a such thing) or anything of the sort.
COLOR ALL THE TIME, AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!
I feel anyone could do this and benefit from just simply coloring an adult coloring book when you are angry, stressed, upset, frightened or worried. Take the unpleasant thoughts you are experiencing and turn them into something artistic and maybe even pretty. I know it sounds “hippy-dippy” and “new age” – because that is sort of the impression I had regarding adult coloring books. I have to say – I think I found a new permanent form of stress relief for myself. It may be “hippy-dippy”, “new age”, or even “hipster-like”. I think the old adage fits perfectly here: Don’t knock it until you try it!
Go ahead. Give it a try. Click here to check out some other adult coloring books. Buy one and give it a shot. I have a feeling that like myself, you won’t regret it. Once you do, please send me a message on Facebook or comment below. I am dying to know what everyone else experiences with using the adult coloring books!
UPDATE – My Newest Favorite Adult Coloring Book:
I love coloring so much and this Colorful Butterflies Stress Relieving Adult Coloring Book is just awesome. The art in this book is all quite beautiful – especially if you love butterflies as much as I do!
Each page is ONE sided and has a beautiful illustration of butterflies. I like that each page is one sided because the colors cannot run from one page to another and ruin pictures. This was VERY good thinking on the author’s part. This makes it possible to use marker or gel pens that require a little time to dry. I personally prefer colored pencils but I like the option to change my tools should I decide that I want to. It is also easy to tear out a page so a friend can color with you since the pages are just one-sided.