DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Sep 22 2017

Coloring For Adults

by Camille B

MuralAs a child growing up, one of my favorite pastimes was coloring. I couldn’t get enough of it. Coloring books, colored pencils, the works.

Even as I grew older the fascination remained, and every once in a while I’d still find myself picking up a page or two because I found it so relaxing. Of course I kept this to myself for fear that I’d find myself on a psychiatrist’s couch somewhere pouring my heart out.

Turns out my fears were unfounded, because little did I know that while I was secretly having the crush of the crayons, coloring had become quite the craze, and a very popular form of relaxation among adults. Great! No more coloring in secret.

I finally shared my love of coloring with a co-worker who quickly brought me up to speed with all that was out there in the world of adult coloring. Until that point, I had no idea they even made coloring books for adults! I was still buying the basic ones at the dollar store.

It was amazing to see the wide variety of coloring books out there, from simple designs to very intricate mandala prints; some of them so widely popular they actually made it onto bestsellers’ lists. The Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book made it onto Amazon’s bestseller lists in both the U.S. and Toronto, alongside books like Girl on a Train and All the Light We Cannot See.

There are also entire websites dedicated to coloring, like The Color.com and Online-coloring.com where you can color online as well as print the pages, and countless apps  for your phone and tablets  dedicated to your coloring experience. One of my favorites is Teazel Ltd which provides over 500 pictures from which to choose.

There are giant, table-size coloring sheets that can be done as a family or group effort, and which can probably be used Muralas murals afterwards. There are elaborate wine and coloring parties and now even a National coloring book day dedicated to this latest trend.

So what makes such a childlike pastime so appealing? Coloring can be therapeutic. It helps to calm the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls the way we react to certain stimuli or emotion that causes us angst. The amygdala can lessen the effect of these negative emotions while you engage in a coloring exercise

According to clinical psychologist Dr. Scot Bea, when thoughts are focused on a simple activity, your brain tends to relax. We are not disturbed by our own thoughts and appraisals. “It has everything to do with refocusing our attention,” he says. “Adult coloring requires modest attention focused outside of self-awareness. It is a simple activity that takes us outside ourselves in the same way cutting the lawn, knitting, or taking a Sunday drive can all be relaxing.”

Even cancer patients are now turning to coloring as a way to manage the stress of their treatments, admitting that it makes the hours go by faster and relaxes their mind and body when they concentrate on just that one task.

Many public libraries are now hosting coloring events as well, including DCPL. You can visit our participating branches: Chamblee, Covington, Doraville, Redan, Stone Mountain and Wesley Chapel to attend upcoming events like: Coffee and Coloring, Color Me Relaxed, Art Expressions and much more. Click here for further details.

And maybe coloring just isn’t your cup of tea, here are some other suggestions for hobbies and interests you might also find relaxing and appealing:

Get a Hobby! : 101 all-consuming diversions for any lifestyle– Tina Barseghian

Practical course in drawing and painting– Martin Roig

52 more scrapbooking challenges– Elizabeth Kartchner

Stylish sewing: 35 patterns and instructions  for clothes, toys and home accessories– Laura Wilheim

Contemporary quilting: exciting techniques and quilts  from award winning quilters– Cindy Walter

The beginner’s guide to growing heirloom vegetables– Marie Iannotti

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jencey Gortney September 23, 2017 at 10:21 AM

Camille,
Great post! I love adult coloring myself. I am currently working on Beauty and the Beast. You also listed some great resources. I found what you mentioned to be true. I tend to do it the most while recovering from surgery. It does relax you especially when your brain cannot focus on more complex such as when recovering surgery.

Jencey Gortney

Shantrice September 26, 2017 at 10:22 AM

This is a good post. I enjoy adult coloring books but I use my adult coloring app more often. It’s much easier using the app to try out different color combinations knowing I can just clear my page if I change my mind.

Robbin September 27, 2017 at 2:57 PM

Enjoyed your post Camille! Sketching & coloring is a favorite pastime of mine also!

Kathy September 29, 2017 at 5:00 PM

I loved your post! Coloring is my end of the day activity to unwind. A friend asked for one of my pictures and when I visited her house and saw it framed on the wall I was so surprised.

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