Ever since I can remember I have loved to colour, paint, create and even now I love adult colouring. My grandfather on my mothers side was an amateur artist who painted still life compositions. When I left school at the age of 16 I went to art college to study A Level Art and 3D Design which included ceramics and stained glass design. From there I attended Lancashire Polytechnic where I had the opportunity to study glassblowing.
The reality of having a mortgage and other bills to pay meant I left that path behind and trained to become a Dispensing Optician before finally finding my purpose and passion in Complementary/Holistic Therapies, Reiki and Life Coaching. But I have never lost my original love and passion for art and crafts, its in my genes and I love nothing more than getting my colouring books and pencils, canvases and paints or crystals beads and findings out and loosing myself in the mindfulness of creativity. It is one of my ‘go to’ stress management techniques and in recent years it has become a third business venture for me, Elements of Creativity which will reopen its doors for Mindful Art & Crafts classes once the global pandemic is over.
Adult Colouring has become extremely popular in recent times and some studies show that colouring helps to relieve stress and anxiety, even producing positive changes in heart rates and brain waves. While fans are enthusiastic, some experts are a bit more cautious. There is strong evidence to support the effectiveness of art therapy for helping patients to manage serious conditions, including cancer and addictions. On the other hand, adult colouring books have been popular for only about 5 years, so less is known about them.
Could adult colouring help you deal with routine daily pressures? Before you break out the crayons or coloured pencils, let’s find out a little more about this growing hobby.
Benefits of Adult Colouring
- Promote mindfulness. Colouring can help you to put aside regrets about the past and concerns about the future as you focus on what you’re doing in the present moment. In that sense, it does have positive effects similar to meditation.
- Think positive. Shifting your attention away from overdue bills and noisy neighbours can feel good. Your mood brightens as you contemplate pretty colours and interesting pictures and patterns.
- Find balance. Any offline hobby that allows you to take a break from technology is a bonus these days. Studies show that checking social media or phone messages too frequently contributes to anxiety.
- Enjoy flexibility. Compared to other hobbies, colouring is inexpensive and portable. You can do it waiting at the airport or sitting in a coffee shop.
- Start small. Another major advantage to colouring is that it requires no significant skills to succeed. If you felt like an underachiever in high school art classes, you can still colour between the lines.
How to Make Colouring Therapeutic
- Look for patterns. Repetition, pattern and detail seem to be the key elements. Studies show that colouring mandalas and geometric shapes is more soothing than working on unstructured designs.
- Explore different themes. Adult colouring books offer a wide range of topics. Pick something that interests you, whether it’s science fiction, mandalas or architecture.
- Share your work. Add a social aspect. Frame your favourite masterpieces and put them on display for friends to see. Post images and comments on social media. Colour side-by-side with your children.
- Have fun. However you colour, think of it as playtime. Let go of expectations and enjoy the process. Get in touch with your inner child.
- Consider art therapy. If you’re dealing with serious issues, art therapy may provide more relief than just colouring. That’s because you interact with a trained counsellor and you make your own original works.
- Express yourself. Of course, trauma isn’t the only reason for creating art. You can learn more about yourself and communicate with others through drawing, painting and other methods.
- Continue your education. You may be more creative than you think. Sign up for a sculpture class or join a Meetup group where you can share feedback with other budding artists. Check the event listings at your local museum for lectures and hands-on activities.
- Practice meditation. If you use colouring to promote mindfulness, you might want to deepen your experience with other forms of meditation. Try sitting for a brief period each day and working your way up to longer sessions.
- Remember your childhood. Colouring seems to be especially effective with adults who previously enjoyed it as children. Maybe there are other youthful pastimes you want to revive like playing piano or baking.
Adult colouring is an inexpensive and easy hobby that can help you relax. Whether you stick with putting the finishing touches on someone else’s designs or move on to creating your own works, you can use art to increase your mindfulness and find more peace.
Don’t forget every Sunday I share a Self Care Sunday Idea to help you stay on track in terms of your own self care.
Have a wonderful, colourful, mindful evening, much love Joanne
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.