Grab your crayons and colored pencils. Your inner 6 year-old will thank you.
“Adult coloring books” are everywhere… the front tables of major book-sellers, the shelves of every craft store, the top of Amazon’s best seller list. Many boast their stress-relieving effects. Some fill their pages with mandalas. Others even specify their specific ‘relaxing’, ‘energizing’, or ‘zen-like’, qualities.
While looking around the world-wide-web for a world-wide array of coloring books, I was surprised to come across quite a bit of controversy regarding the therapeutic effects of coloring.
I found this amusing for a number of reasons. Firstly, the majority of those speaking out against the popularity of coloring as some form of therapy or meditation are highly educated professionals who have clearly spent some time speaking out against… coloring books.
I certainly don’t think coloring books are the answer to all of our anxiety. And, I am not at all encouraging the replacement of every therapist with a box of crayons.
Here is what I do think.
We’re not so great at doing nothing.
We’ve learned to stay so constantly occupied that in fact, it can feel a little uncomfortable to be alone with our own thoughts.
It can even feel a little uncomfortable to be doing only one thing at a time, without alerts and notifications as our constant companions.
Active meditation – whether that is practiced through focusing on one’s breath, a chanted mantra, a specific pose, or simply coloring in the lines…allows our minds to focus intently on a simple task. That task, while requiring our full attention, does not ask us to make decisions or analyze the process. It does not ask us to prioritize or plan. It does not ask anything of us.
And, as if that is not reason enough…
coloring brings us back to a time when what we dreaded most was the suggestion of a mid-day nap.
Try it, just one night.
Sit down with colored pencils or crayons.
For 20-30 minutes, focus on one image as the rhythm of your hand’s movement fills a page with color. Don’t turn on the tv. Just sit with yourself and your thoughts.
And afterwards…consider how that felt – giving yourself a gift of several moments strung together in which nothing was asked of you – in which no decision needed your approval – in which such simple yet focused movements created such satisfying results.
I’d love to see & share your colored creations.
Take a pic & send me a copy so we can inspire even more creative coloring together!