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Coloring: Fad vs. Function

While there is truth that coloring is an enjoyable and focused activity that can make excellent use of your time, the benefits that it gives you cannot be underemphasized.
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It seems like every time you turn around these days, there is a new article about the fun, or sometimes function, or adult coloring books. I have written several pieces myself which talk about the detail and benefits of doing them in your free-time, and the reasoning behind psychologists' suggesting them as an activity. While there is truth that coloring is an enjoyable and focused activity that can make excellent use of your time, the benefits that it gives you cannot be underemphasized. There are so many benefits to coloring that I could go on and on. They allow us to structure our time, they help us access parts of our brains we would not otherwise be using, they help us prevent unhealthy triggers for mental health and addiction issues, and they have exceptional intellectual benefits for us. I could write a piece based on any one of those areas, but today I would like to focus on relaxation and soothing qualities that adult coloring can bring to your life.

As has been noted before, coloring is a form of meditation. While many may question how that can be, think of what meditation is. Medication can be defined as, "contemplation, thought, thinking, musing, pondering, consideration, reflection, deliberation, rumination, brooding, reverie, concentration." When you think of the act of coloring and getting lost in an intricate coloring design, this is exactly what you are doing. Many individuals, myself included, struggle with meditations in some of its more traditional forms, but this is something that anyone can do. There is no good or bad, there is no judgement. It is just what flows between you and the paper. Let the barrier of perfectionism and right or wrong go. Color outside the lines, be creative in your color choices, there is no right or wrong!

Adult coloring can also be a wonderful form of relaxation, and can be used as a calming tool. It is a proven fact that we cannot be angry and calm at the same time. They are two diverse emotions. Think of a scale from one to 10, with 10 being angry, and 1 being calm. We cannot be at both ends at the same time. If we are able to do an activity that relaxes and distracts us, we bring ourselves down from that 10 of anger in a productive and enjoyable way. Once we are able to calm ourselves down, we often find ourselves more able to deal with the situation that made us angry in the first place. We can approach it from a calm and cathartic point of view, instead of a purely angry one. I believe a person would find it amazing, the difference between how they feel, and how they deal with an issue, after they have stepped away from it, and engaged in coloring for period of time. This may seem odd, or even impossible at first, but your partner will grow to be glad that you took this time to yourself to compose yourself, and focus on something besides the issues that made you upset in the first place.

While it is easy to say that adult coloring can help to calm us, and to allow us to express ourselves, it really does play an important role in positively structuring our time while engaging in it. Many people struggle with the ideas of boredom, lack of structure, and the stresses they are dealing with in their life. Idle time can often equal troubling time. It can mean engaging in negative choices, or simply being under a great deal of stress. Adult coloring can help to address that issue. It structures your time, since each detailed picture takes hours to complete. It distracts us from negative and intrusive thoughts, and it prevents boredom, as it is something that is extremely enjoyable to do. The best part is that we end up with something aesthetically pleasing at the end of working on it. The mind has a way of connecting us back to a moment where we were doing something. This means that each time we view our finished product, we are brought back to the time we were working on this project, and the good feelings it created.

Another added bonus is the boost to self-esteem that an activity like this has on an individual. To work hard at a pleasurable project, to complete it, and to admire the work you have done, gives you a huge boost of self-confidence and feelings of happiness. Some of the best resources I have found are colorit.com, which are high end and quality resources. Others are the Color Me Calm Series, and those by Blue Star Coloring. Many of the sites allow you to download some free page samples to show you their quality, and to see if they have something that will be the right fit for you. With the myriad of choices that exists, a person would find themselves hard pressed to not be able to find something that meets their needs and interests. You can also start small, hone your skills, and work up to the peak products like those at colorit.com.

With all the stresses, pressures, and obligations of our everyday life, adult coloring is a great way to relax, decompress, and make productive use of our time. They calm us, make us happy, and are an example of a worthy choice that we can make for ourselves as part of a healthy self-care and relaxation routine. Whether it is for 30 minutes when you wake up in the morning, while the house I quiet. Or, as a means of avoiding feelings of stress, anger frustration, or as a wonderful part of you evening routine. The reason I stress the evening routine, is that this is a fantastic way to fill your time, unwind, and ready yourself and your mind for sleep. We do not have time to it and worry, if we are sitting and coloring. It is such a simple and rewarding way to make use of our down time, and to have something that brings about pleasant thoughts and feelings for us. Couldn't we all use that?