Do You Color?

coloringI have to admit, when I was young, I did not like to color. We all had to do it in elementary school. Coloring was a skill that taught us how to follow instructions, express creativity and stay in the lines. As a child, I followed instructions well, was more creative with words rather than drawing, and honestly, I had trouble staying in the lines, (though, my difficulty staying in the lines helped discover a vision problem).

Then there was the dilemma regarding what should be done with the masterpiece. At school, it was hung on the bulletin board until the next art exhibition was ready for display. The pictures would then either go in my “folder” to be on my desk for my parents to peruse at the next open house or given to me to take for the home gallery, aka refrigerator.

Though I always had a well-stocked case of crayons, markers and colored pencils (for enhancing my study notes through high school, college and medical school), I never really appreciated the benefits of adult coloring. A few years back, in my previous life as a Family Medicine Residency Program Director, our residents were asked to provide a display table at a health fair. Of course, each table needed a draw or a theme. The usual blood pressure checks, medication reviews and BMI calculations were accounted for. After a very productive brainstorming session, the residents came up with an activity station focusing on mindfulness, specifically, coloring.

Various coloring implements were available, a multitude of coloring pages for all different ages and skill levels were assembled and posters outlining the benefits of coloring for all ages attracted the health fair attendees to our display. Adult coloring has become increasingly popular over the past half decade. Multiple benefits of coloring include reduction of anxiety and stress levels, expelling negative thoughts, focusing on the present therefore achieving mindfulness and unplugging from technology (promoting “creation over consumption”). Coloring can be done by anyone, is inexpensive and extremely portable. But for me, there is still that issue regarding “what do I do with the pictures when they are done”?

Enter a pandemic, the closing of card stores and me still having a HUGE family with someone having a birthday almost on a weekly basis. My solution - COLORING! I dove into my stash of coloring books, card stock, glue stick, and my medium of choice - colored pencils (a really great set I inherited from my mom) and I started creating cards for my family members. They loved them and appreciated the time I invested to remember their special day. I was able to relax by practicing mindfulness and exploring what combinations of color were most appealing to me. There was utility in the finished project and there was a distinct purpose in my activity (which has always been important to me).

Since my astigmatism was corrected, I can stay in the lines. I can’t walk through a dollar store without at least looking at the coloring books (Peanuts are my favorite!) and I can always create the card to say just what I intended. So, regardless of whether you pick up an intricate mandala design, popular lettering prints, intricate or not-so-intricate pictures, reproductions of the great works of art, or my choice - a good old kids’ coloring book (on newsprint), you too may experience some of the many benefits of coloring!

Check out some of the Amazing Benefits of Coloring for Adults.

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Comments on "Do You Color?"

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John Stevens Jr. - Friday, January 22, 2021

Surprisingly, adult coloring books very effective to relieve stress of pandemic. Also, keeps your creative mind fresh and active. Stay Safe!

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