When five out of ten of Amazon’s bestselling books are colouring books, one has to wonder just what exactly it is about the adult colouring faze that has swept not just the nation but the world. Forget writing your great novel, think about designing an adult colouring book, that’s where the money is, you might think.
There is split opinion as to whether or not the rise of colouring books for those above the age of eight is just a faze, or whether it’s actually something good, or in some cases, bad for us. An article in the Telegraph recently called adult colouring books a childish fad that is actually serving to regress our educational and developmental progression. The writer in not so many words said that adults favouring books, movies and other activities designed for children is proof that modern culture is abandoning the idea of adulthood, resigning themselves to the fact that becoming an adult is hard work, discouraging and unromantic.
This is perhaps true in one way or another, but simply enjoying animated movies or reading books in the young adult category does not necessarily mean that one is avoiding becoming an adult, it simply means that we no longer see categories as boundaries. Blurring those boundaries, surely means that modern culture has become more open, more flexible, and more willing to accept things at face value rather than reading between the lines.
There is another argument that adult colouring books are none of the above. Not a fad, not proof of our resistance, or evidence of our flexibility, but actually a tool for therapy and meditation. When one of my friends recently lost somebody close to him, he was given a colouring book as something to focus on when he needed a distraction, some quiet time or soothing. It seems to be a common idea, as the National Post recently published an article about a mother who lost her 10 week old son and found her solace in a colouring book.
Psychologists believe that colouring books can work just as well as other stress relieving techniques such as yoga and meditation, and according to Craig Sawchuk from the Mayo Clinic when he spoke to the National Post, colouring can help to slow down the heart rate and respiration, ultimately calming somebody down, as well as relax your muscles and stimulate the brain. This essentially is a grounding technique, which can be used for anybody going through any kind of mental discomfort to focus on the object at hand, and take a break from whatever else is going on in your life. It doesn’t have to be all about stress relief, grief or healing from trauma, because everybody needs a little time out every once in a while, so why not do it while colouring?!