Hey Americans! We have a new obsession.
It’s said to calm the mind, promote relaxation, and enhance our creative spirit.
It’s not Pokemon.
Yoga? Meditation? Nature walks?
Yep, it seems the latest, greatest trend in mindfulness is something we learned in preschool.
Only, our coloring books are WAY cooler now. Some of them even feature Ryan Gosling!
The idea behind the adult coloring book — which is not porn, but be careful googling that shit — is that repetitive doodling relaxes the brain, gives you a break from decision fatigue, and inserts a little creativity into your otherwise left-brain-dominated lifestyle.
The current craze was inspired by the ancient Tibetan practice of creating mandalas.
Pious monks and harried executives are looking for the same thing here (although, the monks are doing it at a more intense level). They’re looking for the flow.
It’s the same reason people like to knit. That repetitive motion, the concentration required to achieve that level of fine detail and precision, the way it utterly consumes your mind.
When you color, time disappears. You don’t think about work the next day, or that irritating thing so-and-so said, or what to wear to your high school reunion.
You don’t think about anything, and that’s kind of the point.
There’s also something to be said about the act of creation. While some might argue that a coloring book isn’t “real” art, because the drawing’s already been done for you (all you’re doing is adding color), I disagree.
I’ve created a fair share of art in my time (though it’s been many moons since I picked up my charcoals), and I still remember how it feels.
It feels… alive. Essential. And cool as hell. Like this.
But even though I’ve got a box full of dusty art supplies in my office, I never draw anymore. (Does anyone?)
I’m busy. I don’t know what to draw. I’m afraid it will suck.
Since I got my first adult coloring book (a Secret Santa gift for the WIN), I’ve gotten to feel that feeling on a regular basis, and I’m soaking it up like water in the desert.
Is it the same as creating from scratch? No. Maybe. I don’t know.
Honestly, who cares?
Coloring injects a creative flourish into the busiest of lives. You don’t have to be good at it, or own a bunch of fancy art supplies. You can even download the pages for free.
I think this is what I like best about it — it’s accessible to everyone. And when more people can feel more relaxed? Well, that means good things for the human race.
Especially right now.
I also love how you don’t have to check your perfectionism at the door — a super-hard feat when you’re an overachiever trying to make art. Instead, coloring gives that niggling voice something awesome to do: stay inside the lines.
It’s like occupying an obnoxious puppy with a rawhide bone so you can concentrate for a few hours.