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The Art of Coloring for Adults -A Zen Experience or Just Torture?

antelope in  pen in adult coloring book
antelope in pen in adult coloring book

Sometimes when I’m just too tired to think,

and have too much on my mind to be creative, I color. I am one of those freaks who owns at least ten different types of pens, pencils and crayons just to color in my coloring books for adults. I can’t tell you how nice it is to open to a fresh page and choose a color and begin putting color on the page.

In some ways it is mindless. The design is already there. The hardest decision I have to make is what color to use next.

Sometimes it is a zen experience

where I just keep working my way around the page. As I relax my shoulders drop and my mind slows down to the point where I’m actually in the moment. I enjoy that.

On the other hand, there are times when I can’t make up my mind which color to use next, my jaw is clenched in frustration as I fight my inclination to just scribble all over the page, and I simply am unable to detach myself from my day. Sometimes I just give up and have a glass of wine.

What I really like about adult coloring books

is that the pictures are very detailed, on much better than the coloring books of my childhood, and can be torn out and used for…well, I hate to admit it, but when I have a small package to wrap I use a completed page to wrap with. I have even printed out a page I enlarged after coloring and used that as wrap. It may be a little time-consuming, but ups the personal quotient by 1000.

I really need to find uses for my work or it simply overwhelms my space. Because I must keep thinking of new ways to utilize my coloring, many times creativity kicks in and helps me out. I love it when that happens. I find that when I give myself a set of problems within a given set of parameters to solve, many times I come up with unexpected and wonderful solutions.

pencil in coloring book
pencil in coloring book

Coloring has a tendency to lower your heart rate, center your focus, and relax your mind. If this is a benefit you recognize, surprise, you have just been meditating.

It is also a way to disconnect from all of your electronics.

Many times I put my phone on silent and leave it in another room just to get away from it, but coloring is a good way to forget, at least for a time, the presses of our electronic life. It brings you right smack dab into the now.

The here and now,

this space where we all forget to live is important insofar as it helps us realize that it’s okay to enjoy the clouds in the sky, the smell of the air, the sounds of the birds in the trees outside the window. It’s difficult to underestimate the gift of being present, in the moment. Or for granted as it also helps ground us as humans to the needs of our fellow travelers through this life.

 

Seahorses - coloring for adults
Seahorses in adult coloring book

One of the best things

about coloring is that even if you don’t have a creative or artistic bone in your body, you can still color a beautiful page. This pastime is not about talent or artistic ability. The art of coloring for adults is sort of like doing a crossword puzzle, but with color instead of letters.

It is very doable to take a coloring book and set of pencils with you for the times you have to wait, or have a few minutes to relax. My 6×8 coloring books fit right in my bag, so easy to take anywhere. In many cases it is as good as having a book along, but you don’t have to try to concentrate. You just color in the next shape.

My 6×8 coloring books fit right in my bag, so easy to take anywhere.

Easy.

People who have a creative hobby outside of their work are seen by co-workers to be more innovative and creative. Are they? Maybe. When the mind is given a chance to drift while being engaged in a simple task like coloring, one gets the benefit of feeling more optimistic and inspired, and can relieve decision fatigue that hounds all of us.

Another benefit of coloring is that it helps increase manual dexterity. In this age of computers, where everyone types instead of using a pen or pencil, manual dexterity take the hit. I have, upon occasion put my signature to paper and found my fingers stiff and not wanting to make those small, precise moves.

It surprised me

because I use my hands all the time. But writing is something that seems to be becoming obsolete, sadly. Coloring is definitely a way to regain the subtle movements needed when coloring or writing by hand.

while coloring is a fun activity it certainly isn’t the only creative activity with benefits. Music, drawing, crafts and even home repairs have been found to meditative and therapeutic. Knitting and crochet have also been used for its ability to lessen depression and anxiety.

The benefits of coloring for adults

boils down to is this: It lessens anxiety, fuels creativity, helps us feel connected to the present, the now, increases manual dexterity and gives a sense of well-being. If you ask me that is better than any drug. And it’s legal. It’s inexpensive. Fun too..

Try it if you haven’t. I challenge you. There will be times when all you want to do is scribble outside the lines and tear the page to bits. I think you should. As a matter of fact I encourage you to do so. How does it make you feel? Do yo like coloring outside the lines? Does it make you feel better about something totally unrelated to coloring when you rip up a page that disappointed you?

I would like to hear from you, so grab crayons and a coloring book and get to work!

 

colored pencils in adult coloring book
colored pencils in adult coloring book

Candace

 

 

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2 Comments

  • Coucka

    Hi Candice

    I used to paint all the time, until I went to Julian Aston’s School of Fine Arts, they took all the fun out of it.
    I remember when painting was a fun, and a zen experience. Sometimes knowledge is an inhibitor to creating. I love airbrushing and I have found the more I disengage the brain the better I paint.

    I love your website and I love that you have an artists spirit. Colouring, painting or whatever you are doing is about releasing the inner soul and emotions that unbalance you. Keep colouring and ripping up pages then turning them into paper mache. It is all good, and don’t let anyone tell you how to do it, they will ruin the magic.

    Cheers Coucka

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