I am addicted to adult coloring books. NO, not the salacious sexy ones. (I’ve not actually seen any of those.) I am addicted to the finely detailed, zentangled, drawings. My current book is Tropical World, A Coloring Book Adventure by Millie Marotta.
To the right are the butterflies that I colored this weekend. Using a set of 20 gel pens, I can sit for hours over a drawing – occasionally disturbed when I don’t like a color combination but pleased with the smooth application of the gel ink and the gradually emerging technicolor pages. I admit that saying within the lines is certainly a challenge for someone who has consciously tried to push outside of the lines in life.
Adult coloring books are being marketed as a form of meditation that anyone can do. I did a bit of quick research and found nothing of a scientific nature to confirm this claim, but I do know that the stresses of the moment/day seem to fade away when I concentrate on filling tiny spaces with color and outlining intricate shapes.
I do meditate. Sitting quietly and emptying my mind…or trying to empty my mind. I have been practicing meditation for about eight years. This was instrumental in my healing during my divorce and after the double knee replacements. Coloring books don’t bring me to the same place. But coloring IS a great stress relief leading to some of the same physical effects as meditation.
- My breathing slows down.
- My heart rate drops.
- My mind clears so that I can sleep better.
- Anxiety begins to melt away.
- Coloring is a physical activity that breaks whatever energy was disturbing me.
For many months I was a closet colorist – not sharing my habit with my friends. It seemed so trivial and child-like.
I am NOT an artist. I have never attempted to paint a picture or to throw a pot. I curated a fine art gallery for 8 years and love being in the presence of beautiful creations by skilled artisans and talented artists. I am not OF that group.
Then one day before Thanksgiving, I realized that my approach to the holidays this year was much more positive than it had been in the previous years that I have lived alone. I was actually looking forward to putting up some decorations, entertaining, and even shopping. This was all running through my mind while I was coloring this page of flowers.
That was my break through. I wanted to share with my friends the tool that was helping me focus on the positive. I quickly moved to the computer and Amazon Prime where I found about 20 different coloring books to match the interests and passions of my friends and neighbors. Topics like enchanted forests, oceans, alphabets, Paris, New York City, Japanese prints, Victorian houses, butterflies, birds, and cats. For the first time in many years, I approached wrapping all of those skinny flat gifts with joy. Briefly, I wondered if my friends would think I had flipped out. But it didn’t matter. I was offering a gift from my heart and thinking of each person as I prepared my offering.
Are my friends finding the same pleasure that I do from coloring? I don’t know. Some are still searching for the right pencils or pens to use in their books. (Our little community does not offer much in retail, hence, my devotion to Amazon Prime.) I have shared my stress relief with those dear to me. It may not be their stress relief. Maybe they will find something else, but I feel very good about my addiction.
Now I wonder if it will help me lose these extra pounds…