Coloring has become a wildly popular midlife trend. Adult coloring books full of intricate designs are everywhere you look. One of my favorite authors, Claire Cook wrote a chapter about coloring in her new book, Shine On: How to Grow Awesome Instead of Old. According to Claire Cook, “coloring triggers childhood memories and reminds us of simpler times.”
I have gotten into the coloring fad and I agree with Claire Cook, there is something about coloring that is soothing and comfortable. Apparently I am not alone, because researchers have discovered specific benefits of coloring, for example a 2005 study documented a reduction in anxiety in subjects after a short time of coloring geometric patterns. The simple, repetitive nature of coloring has a relaxing effect for me as well – it is so soothing to rub my color pencils across the paper, and the reward is not only a beautiful design, but a much lower stress level.
Coloring offers the opportunity to be creative without the pressure of feeling artistic, the outline is given to you and you simply have to choose the colors and enjoy the finished product. For many of us, if we are asked to draw something we would feel stressed, but asked to color something we relax and enjoy the process.
Coloring can be meditative, one of my favorite designs to color are Mandalas, complex circular designs. Mandalas are said to quiet our minds. Sometimes on a break at work, I color for a few minutes to relax and re-center myself.
Coloring can also be a fun family activity. Last year we had fun coloring Christmas designs while drinking spiced cider, it was a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season.
Investing in a good set of color pencils or markers can help, but you don’t need to buy pricey coloring books, you can make your own coloring pages; there are a wide variety of online resources for coloring. You can also usually find fun coloring books at the local dollar store.
Coloring is nothing new, but it is the new way to relax and enjoy yourself - so grab a coloring book and get started.
Check out these websites for cool coloring designs that you can print at home: