Did you get a coloring book for Christmas? I did. A friend gave me one called Magic Garden along with colored pens so I could get started coloring right away. Coloring books for adults were all the rage for gift giving this Christmas. I gave two as presents myself.
Why are coloring books for adults so popular? Apparently there are lots of reasons. Coloring books offer welcome relief from technology. So many of us remain plugged into our phones, laptops and tablets for hours on end. Coloring books allow us to step away from our screens and focus on something else. I can relate to this although I find sketching, reading, doing a jigsaw puzzle or biking can serve the same purpose.
Coloring books can help us de-stress. I know an elementary school teacher who regularly colors when she gets home from work in order to wind down after a hectic day on the job. According to an article in The Atlantic, coloring books are hugely popular in France where people are coloring instead of taking coffee breaks at work. They say it reduces anxiety and gives them perspective. Some coloring book aficionados have even reported finding relief from tension headaches and others are turning to their coloring books for calm rather than having a cigarette.
Scottish designer Joanna Basford whose Secret Garden coloring book has sold over two million copies says she believes the new popularity of coloring amongst adults, stems from the fact it provides people with psychological benefits by just allowing them to zone out. She’s heard from patients dealing with major illnesses or post traumatic stress syndrome that find coloring helps them get through painful periods.
Many coloring book enthusiasts are just nostalgic. Coloring takes them back to their childhood, to a time when life was simpler. A favorite childhood photo of mine shows me at age five along with my sister and two of our cousins lying on our stomachs on the floor of our grandmother’s house our coloring books spread out in front of us busy coloring.
In some places coloring is becoming a new social activity. I read about a group of women in Minnesota who meet once a month for cocktails and coloring. They have fun together and share a sense of accomplishment at having completed their coloring book pages by the end of the evening.
I have already finished three pages in my coloring book as you can see from this post and I’m looking forward to coloring even more. If you didn’t get a coloring book for Christmas don’t feel embarrassed about buying one for yourself- because in 2016 coloring books aren’t just for kids anymore.