Adult coloring books are all the rage. Last year, an estimated 12 million adult coloring books were sold in the U.S. But coloring books themselves aren’t new. They’ve been around for thousands of years and can be traced back to Buddhists.
Adult coloring has increased in popularity due in part to the ability to offer a creative stress outlet at a reasonable cost. The American Psychological Association estimates the cost of job stress to be around $300 billion per year. So coloring can have a benefit. But like all things, overdoing something that’s good for us can turn into a liability. Here are a few things to know about adult coloring:
Lesson #1: Learn how to make decisions and practice self-control.
If you’re looking to give adult coloring books a try, get ready to make lots of decisions. It’s easy to overspend because there are so many great options. Today’s adult coloring books are offered in both paper and electronic formats. (Two of the more popular coloring apps are Recolor and Colorfy, both available on iTunes and Android for free with in-app purchases.) That doesn’t even take into account the countless subject matters – mandalas, landscapes, classic art, even NSFW! Once you decide the format and the subject, then there’s the coloring – crayons, pencils, pens, etc. and how many.
Think about how you like to relax and unwind. That will help you find the coloring option that’s right for you.
Lesson #2: Coloring doesn’t have to be an hours-long activity.
Making an investment in adult coloring books doesn’t mean you have to color every day. Maybe your coloring habit will be limited to the very necessary 5-minute distraction or a few moments during lunch. Diego Orlandini, creator of the Wynwood Coloring Book, explains it’s not about the length of time; it’s about making the time count. “I created the Wynwood Coloring Book because coloring helped me relax when I was stressed out at work. I had other coloring books before but they didn’t inspire me as Wynwood does. Once I decided coloring a book on Wynwood street art would be more entertaining the idea was born.”
Coloring allows you to be relax and be inspired. Try not get too deep or engrossed that you can’t go back to work.
Lesson #3: Coloring doesn’t have to be a ‘one-person’ activity.
Coloring doesn’t have to be an everyday activity. It’s also doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Local libraries are starting adult coloring meetups and clubs. Organizations are creating coloring books and encouraging their social communities to color and post their work. Lora DiFranco, co-founder of Free Period Press, shared how coloring is making its way into business. “Our most successful coloring book so far has been ’You Got This: A Mantra Coloring Book.’ It features a different positive quote on every page. Some of the mantras include Challenge Equals Growth, Live the Way You Want to be Remembered, and Roll with It. We knew that people were using coloring to relax, so we wanted to take it to the next level and really try to motivate folks, too. By focusing on a positive phrase while you color, you can think about how that phrase might relate to your current situation.”
Use coloring to connect and inspire. Your finished coloring pages can be turned into art or cards.
Adult coloring books have a lot of benefits beyond relaxation. They can promote mindfulness, inspire creativity, and help us stay focused. The key is to start small and see if you like it. It’s amazing how many activities can be fun and teach us a few lessons along the way.