It used to be that coloring in books were something you bought to keep kids occupied at the kitchen table or on road trips. Toddlers through to teenagers have long enjoyed the pleasures of scribbling over, painting on, coloring in, or painstakingly creating masterpieces of pink, green, and orange glory.
Now grown ups are getting in on the pencil and texta action, and discovering the benefits of coloring in that they’d long since forgotten. Here are some great reasons you might like to try adult coloring in books, too.
1. Stress Release
We all lead busy lives. The pace of contemporary society means that people are working longer hours, and our attachment to mobile devices stops us from unplugging even when we leave work. Coloring in books give us an opportunity to stop, sit down, and focus on a single, simple task that requires repetitive actions that do not tax our minds. The repetitious action of coloring in can be extremely soothing and provide us with a gentle way to release stress by taking pleasure in a no-pressure activity. No deadline, no demands. Just gentle play.
Speaking of play, you may be surprised to find that coloring in makes you feel like a kid again. The first time I tried coloring in as an adult, I couldn’t believe how quickly I was transported back to my childhood bedroom desk, where I used to use pretty much every color crayon in my yellow Crayola Caddy to fill in my coloring in books (the silver and gold crayons were always my favourites). Give it a try and prepared to regress. Coloring in is a form of play, and play isn’t just for children. It has enormous mental health benefits for all ages, and helps us to relax in a creative, unstructured way.
3. The Pleasure of Making
As knitters, woodworkers, beaders, writers, and other creative types know, there’s an immense pleasure gained from making something new and unique in the world. Even if someone else is coloring in exactly the same picture as you, nobody else in the world is going to do it the way you do. Your unique choices of color, media (pencil? crayon? texta? pasta sauce?), coloring techniques, and approach mean that you’re making something new. Emotionally, it makes you feel good. Practically, it gives you something cool to stick on the fridge and smile about every time you get out the milk.
4. Sense of Accomplishment
This is another emotional one – when you finish coloring in a picture, you get that lovely buzz of ‘woohoo!’ that accompanies finishing a job done well. Coloring in does not have to take a lot of time (though some people love it so much they spend hours at it) and it doesn’t require a hard slog to achieve a warm, fuzzy, sense of accomplishment.
5. Bonding for Parents and Kids
If you have children, then sitting down with them and a couple of coloring in books can be a great way to spend time together. While they color in superheroes and television characters, you can lose yourself in the quiet intricacies of a secret garden or mandala patterns. Spending focused time with your kids when you’re not distracted by your phone, other people, household chores, or work, helps to build stronger relationships and open up communication between you. Research has shown that boys in particular are more likely to open up and chat with you if they are engaged in another activity at the time.
So enjoy your adult coloring in time and its many benefits, ranging from stress release, nostalgia trips, and the pleasurable act of making something, to a sense of achievement and even parent-child bonding time. Coloring in helps us to remember some of life’s simpler pleasures, and encourages us to slow down to enjoy them.