Colouring for adults
Let’s revisit the colouring books of our childhood. Colouring for adults is way less kinky than it sounds.
You have probably heard of the revival of the colouring book. But now they’re not meant for children any more. Now adults are getting colouring books for themselves and claiming it helps with stress and insomnia. It always seems to be in the news, articles about adults using colouring books. After a very quick Google search I found three very different results. In one article an expert was criticising the practice, linking it to an unhealthy resistance to growing up. In a second, a journalist had compiled a series of interviews with businesswomen who are fans of colouring books and somehow still managed to sound sexist. In a third, a psychiatrist discussed the effect of colouring on brainwaves.
I don’t pretend to really understand the psychiatry part, but I do know what happened when I tried colouring in.
You know me – I’m not someone for fads. I wouldn’t try something because it’s fashion. It wasn’t my idea to try colouring, but then recently my mum arrived with a little colouring book, joking that she got me a colouring book for my 24th birthday (even though my birthday is only in three months).
And let me tell you… it works. For me, at least.
This past weekend I had an anxiety flare-up. A really bad one. I know there are people dealing with far worse things, and I feel bad if I make it sound like a big deal, but it’s been a long time since I felt this way and I wasn’t sure how to cope. It was the whole deal: I had trouble breathing, with breaths just hitching halfway, and trouble swallowing, let alone eating. And I had no willpower to get out of my chair.
(It’s also the reason why this week’s planned cartoon isn’t done.)
Then came the blessed inspiration to drag the colouring book closer and start colouring. It worked without me even noticing. My breathing became easier, I was hungry again and my hands were steady. The flare-up wasn’t without reason, but it was over such an insignificant reason that just blew up to enormously exaggerated proportions in my mind.
My brain always feels like it has too many tabs open, jumping from one connection to another pattern, over and over again. Anxiety makes these thought patterns worse, but the colouring calmed them. All I had to concentrate on in that moment was staying between the black lines and picking out a nicely coloured pencil, and somehow this allowed my brain to say “let’s all just take a step back here and stop freaking out”.
I don’t care if some experts want to refer to colouring as an unhealthy regression. That anxiety flare-up was unhealthy and the colouring made me happy again. It dealt with the unhealthy part, it didn’t cause it. So if anyone wants to be bitter about this new fashion, they can be bitter about it somewhere else. We who are fans of colouring books will be over here, in the sunshine, making the world a little bit happier and more colourful.
Have you ever used a colouring book as an adult?