Colouring-in; an activity once only acceptable for the under-fives, is now making a comeback as the go to therapy for relieving stress, anxiety and promoting mindfulness. In France, colouring-in books are currently selling faster than cookery books. And everyone knows how much the French love to cook! Over 350,000 copies of the colouring book collection 100 Coloriages Anti-Stress have been sold across the channel. Here in the UK, an influx of new adult colouring-in books have hit the shelves in bookshops.
‘When you’re colouring, you’re not really thinking about anything else. In that moment – when you’re sitting down with a traditional piece of paper and some pens, no apps, no noise – you almost go back to being a kid again. Colouring provides a bit of escapism.’
‘We are constantly bombarded with technology, you can download apps to your phone in a few seconds and it’s too much for us to take in. Colouring allows us to go back to a slower pace and I think people appreciate that.’ – Richard Merritt, Co-illustrator of a colouring-in therapy book.
Mindfulness can be defined as; a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. Mindful activities, such as colouring-in, sewing and painting require us to focus our attention and we naturally become absorbed. Note that this does not work if you have the TV on in the background or are multitasking.
Art therapy has long been used for its mental health benefits and to help patients cope with trauma. Regular colouring-in devotees have reported experiencing a serene sense of calm, reduced stress and anxiety, reduced headaches, improved overall health and increased creativity. What’s more, many people find that when they ‘zone out’ the solutions to problems they had been obsessing over seem to come to them effortlessly.
Are you stressed, broke and disillusioned? Fed up of sitting in the bath trying to meditate until your skin goes wrinkly because it’s the only place you can get some peace? If you are beyond dejected by the prospect of sitting down to read yet another mindfulness based self-help book and have abandoned your mindfulness audio-course, colouring-in is a cheap and easy way to introduce a taste of mindfulness into your daily life. What’s more – it’s fun, pretty and doesn’t require any major commitment.